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3D mesenteric angiogram-based assessment of Arc of Riolan crossing the inferior mesenteric vein: important considerations in high ligation during splenic flexure takedown in anterior resection

Surg Radiol Anat. 2022 Jul 23. doi: 10.1007/s00276-022-02992-x. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Recent studies have described the finding of the Arc of Riolan (AoR) crossing the inferior mesenteric vein (IMV) seen during high ligation of IMV while performing minimally invasive colectomies. However, the AoR usually has a medial course, and this variant AoR anatomic course and the clinical importance of its preservation during splenic flexure takedown in anterior resection remains controversial.

METHODS: After institutional approval (QA-5775), radiological identification of and mapping of the vessel horizontally crossing the IMV under the pancreas, when present, was performed at a single institution (Westmead Hospital, New South Wales, Australia). One hundred consecutive computed tomographic (CT) mesenteric angiograms conducted in 2018 were reviewed retrospectively to determine the presence of a vessel horizontally crossing the IMV. 3D reconstructions were used to map out its course to understand its origin and full course. Baseline characteristics, including demographic and comorbidity data, were obtained from the medical record.

RESULTS: On 3D mesenteric angiogram reconstructions, a vessel crossing anterior to the IMV was present in 11 of 98 cases (11.2%). Two cases were excluded as the presence of this vessel was indeterminate. Eight of 11 patients (72.7%) were male, and the mean age was 49.3 years (range: 21-80 years). There was no statistically significant difference in age and comorbidities between the groups. Importantly, in all 11 cases, there was an arterial vessel crossing the IMV originating from the SMA and communicating with the IMA or a branch of the IMA, proving definitively that this vessel was by definition the AoR.

CONCLUSION: This 3D mesenteric angiogram mapping study has shown definitively that the vessel horizontally crossing anterior to the IMV and inferior to the pancreas is an arterial vessel from the SMA to IMA, and by definition the Arc of Riolan. When present, identification and preservation of this collateral arterial vessel during splenic flexure takedown in anterior resection may be important in reducing the risk of post-operative bowel ischaemia.

PMID:35870000 | DOI:10.1007/s00276-022-02992-x

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