Structure of the pancreas
The pancreas is a 14-18 cm long organ and has a weight of 70-80 g. It lies secondary retroperitoneally between stomach and abdominal aorta. The pancreas is surrounded by a thin connective tissue capsule (Capsula fibrosa), from which thin septa draw into the inner part of the gland.
The pancreas is divided into three sections:
Pancreas head, body, and tail.
In addition, the pancreas has an excretory duct, the ductus panvreaticus and a common bile duct (ductus chloledochus). These two usually flow together on the papilla duodeni major into the pars descendens duodeni. The residue of the formerly dorsal pancreatic duct in the caput pancreatis, the ductus pancreaticus accessrius, flows into the papilla duodeni minor.
There are different variations of the duct:
- both ducts merge into one, which ends on a papilla (see "WebViewer")
- ducts remain separated from each other and end in two papillae
- In rare cases, in addition to the two points mentioned above, the ductus coledochus may lead seperately into the duodenum.
Projection of the pancreas onto the trunk
The pancreas lies transversely in the upper abdomen and mostly in the regio epigastrica. The location is called secondary retroperitoneal due to the change of position during embryonic time.
The caput pancreatis runs up to the 2/3 lumbar vertebra and the corpus pancreatis up to the 1/2 lumbar vertebra. The caput pancreatis can extend to the spleen and is located in the left upper abdomen.
Pancreas in situ
Removed from the "WebViewer": liver, stomach, parts of the large and small intestine. For a better overview of the structures in the vicinity of the pancreas, the retroperitoneal connective and adipose tissue as well as the capsula adiposa renis are not shown.
The pancreas is secondary retroperitoneally located at the posterior wall of the bursa omentalis.
View the pancreas in 3D and explore it freely. Afterwards, you can look at other cases or check your learned knowledge through the practice exercises.
View the pancreas in situ.