In 1861, von Rokitansky described obstruction of the third part of the duodenum by external compression of the duodenum by the superior mesenteric artery (SMA). In 1926, this entity was furthermore described by Wilke in his presentation of 75 patients with "chronic duodenal compression". In 1968, Mansberger used angiography to define anatomical measurements as the diagnostic criteria for this condition. Current modalities of diagnosis of SMA syndrome include esophagogastroduodenoscopy, computerized tomography angiogram, fluoroscopy, transabdominal ultrasound, and endoscopic ultrasound. The SMA syndrome has been associated with prolonged confinement in the supine position, loss of weight, loss of abdominal wall muscle tone, application of a body cast, and severe burns. With current surgical techniques allowing early ambulation, patients are able to avoid prolonged bed rest. The use of parenteral and enteral nutritional support has limited the loss of weight associated with trauma and burn patients, making this syndrome uncommon in this patient population. Recent reports of SMA syndrome focus on the association with corrective surgical procedures for scoliosis and obesity.