Anatomy of the Pancreas & Duodenum


The pancreas has three main sections:

  • Head: area of pancreas to right of left border of superior mesenteric vein.
  • Body: area of pancreas between left border of superior mesenteric vein and left border of aorta.
  • Tail: area of pancreas between left border of aorta and hilum of spleen.

The most common site of primaries is the head of the pancreas. The pancreas has two functional components: endocrine, to produce insulin and other hormones, and exocrine, to produce pancreatic juices for digestion. The pancreas is in direct contact with the stomach, duodenum, spleen, and major vessels of the abdomen.

Illustraiton of the pancreas and the duodenum
  1. Head of pancreas
  2. Uncinate process
  3. Pancreatic notch
  4. Body of pancreas
  5. Anterior surface
  6. Inferior surface
  7. Superior margin
  8. Anterior margin
  9. Inferior margin
  10. Omental tuber
  11. Tail of pancreas
  12. Duodenum

Key words

  • Duct of Wirsung: pancreatic duct opening into duodenum.
  • Insulin: hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates carbohydrate metabolism.