Aim: To take a deeper insight into the relationship between the root of the inferior mesenteric artery (IMA)and the autonomic nerve plexuses around it by cadaveric anatomy and explore anatomical evidence of autonomicnerve preservation in high ligation of the IMA in laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer.
Methods: Anatomicaldissection was performed on 11 formalin-fixed cadavers and 12 fresh cadavers. Anatomical evidence-basedautonomic nerve preservation in high ligation of the IMA was performed in 22 laparoscopic curative resectionsof colorectal cancer.
Results: As the upward continuation of the presacral nerves, the bilateral trunks of SHPhad close but different relationships with the root of the IMA. The right trunk of SHP ran relatively far awayfrom the root of IMA. When the apical lymph nodes were dissected close to the root of the IMA along the fasciaspace in front of the anterior renal fascia, the right trunk of SHP could be kept in suit under the anterior renalfascia. The left descending branches to SHP constituted a natural and constant anatomical landmark of therelationship between the root of IMA and the left autonomic nerves. Proximal to this, the left autonomic nervessurrounded the root of the IMA. Distally, the left trunk of the SHP departed from the root of IMA under theanterior renal fascia. When high ligation of the IMA was performed distal to it, the left trunk of SHP could bepreserved. The distance between the left descending branches to SHP and the origin of IMA varied widely from1.3 cm to 2.3 cm.
Conclusions: The divergences of the bilateral autonomic nerve preservation around the rootof the IMA may contribute to provide anatomical evidence for more precise evaluation of the optimal positionof high ligation of the IMA in the future.