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superior epigastric arteries (anatomy)

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The superior epigastric artery is a branch of the internal thoracic artery on each side. It forms deep to the sixth intercostal space on each side. The superior epigastric artery then runs from the plane superficial to the transversus thoracis muscle inferiorly to pass between the diaphragmatic origins on the xiphoid process and costal margin respectively.

The superior epigastric vessels run inferiorly deep to rectus abdominis and superficial to the fibrous layer that forms the posterior leaflet of the rectus sheath. Within this layer it ramifies to widely anastomose with the inferior epigastric artery.

The superior epigastric artery supplies the:

  • peripheral portion of the anterior diaphragm
  • superficial muscles of the anterior abdominal wall