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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Human Anatomy in Cross Section: Topography of the Thorax and Abdomen

Atlas of Human Anatomy in Cross Section: Appendix: Topography of the Thorax and Abdomen

Pancreas

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Jean J. Jew, M.D., and Paul C. Reimann, B.S.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Head

Eycleshymer and Schoemaker reported that the variations in position of the head of the pancreas range from the middle of the second lumbar vertebra to the upper third of the fourth lumbar vertebra, with an average position at the level of the upper third of the third lumbar vertebra. Corning places the head of the pancreas at the level of the second lumbar vertebra. Charpy suggests that the head is usually at the level of the first and second lumbar vertebra, frequently as low as the second lumbar disk, and sometimes as low as the third lumbar disk. Morris places the head at the level of the first or second lumbar vertebra, and Cunningham states that it lies at the level of the twelfth thoracic or the first lumbar spine and that its lowest part lies at the level of the second lumbar spine.

Body

The highest point of the body of the pancreas may extend from the ninth thoracic disk to the lower third of the first lumbar vertebra. The average position, according to Eycleshymer and Schoemaker, is at the level of the middle of the twelfth thoracic vertebra. Braune, Tschaussow, Sandras, and Zuckerkandl and Schiefferdecker (cited but not referenced in Eycleshymer and Schoemaker) place the body of the pancreas opposite the first lumbar vertebra; Sappey and Hyrtl found it opposite the second lumbar. Wiart puts it at the lower half of the first lumbar and the upper half of the second lumbar vertebra, and Merkel states that it is opposite the first lumbar and the upper part of the second. Charpy reports "that the body of the pancreas is opposite the first lumbar. When a trifle high, it is opposite the lower half of the twelfth thoracic; sometimes it is low and thus corresponds to the second lumbar."

Tail, Tip

The tip of the tail of the pancreas may be found from the middle of the ninth thoracic vertebra to the lower third of the first lumbar vertebra, with the average position at the level of the twelfth thoracic vertebra, according to Eycleshymer and Schoemaker. Cunningham places it opposite the twelfth thoracic spine.

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