Importance of the Moskowitz artery in the laparoscopic medial approach to splenic flexure mobilization: a cadaveric study

Tech Coloproctol. 2017 Jul;21(7):567-572. doi: 10.1007/s10151-017-1663-3. Epub 2017 Jul 27.


Background: The medial approach in laparoscopic splenic flexure mobilization is based on the entrance to the lesser sac just above the ventral edge of the pancreas (VEOP). The artery of Moskowitz runs through the base of the mesocolon, just above the VEOP. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of the artery of Moskowitz, its route and its distance from the VEOP.

Methods: We performed a cadaveric study on 27 human cadavers. The vascular arcades of the splenic flexure were dissected, the number of vascular arches, and the origin and localization of its terminal anastomosis were recorded. The splenic flexure avascular space (SFAS) was defined as the avascular zone in the mesocolon delimited by the VEOP, middle colic artery, ascending branch of the left colic artery and the vascular arch of the splenic flexure nearest to the VEOP and was quantified as the distance between the VEOP and the most proximal arch RESULTS: The artery of Drummond was identified in 100% of the cadavers. In 5 of 27 (18%) Riolan's arch was present, and in 3 of 27 (11%) the Moskowitz artery was found. The mean distance from the VEOP to the artery of Moskowitz was 0.3 cm (SD 0.04). This vascular arch travelled from the origin of the middle colic artery to the distal third of the ascending branch of the left colic artery. The SFAS was greater (p = 0.001) in cadavers that only presented the artery of Drummond (mean 6.8 cm; SD 1.25) than in those with Riolan's arch (mean 4.5 cm; SD 0.5) CONCLUSIONS: In the medial approach for laparoscopic mobilization of the splenic flexure, when only one of the arches is present, the avascular area is an extensive and secure territory. If the artery of Moskowitz is present, the area is nonexistent and this would contraindicate the approach due to risk of iatrogenic bleeding. A radiological preoperatory study could be essential for accurate and safe surgery in this area.

Keywords: Laparoscopic medial approach; Moskowitz; Splenic flexure.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Colon, Transverse / blood supply
  • Colon, Transverse / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Inferior / surgery*
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / surgery*
  • Mesocolon / blood supply*
  • Mesocolon / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / blood supply
  • Pancreas / surgery