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The uncinate process of the pancreas extends from the inferior lateral end of the head of the gland (Fig. 70.5). Embryologically it is separate from the rest of the gland, and so it lies posterior to the superior mesenteric vein and occasionally the artery as they descend and run forward into the root of the ileal mesentery, in close contact with its anterior surface. Posteriorly it lies in front of the aorta, and inferiorly it lies on the upper surface of the third part of the duodenum. Tumours of the uncinate process do not cause obstruction to the common bile duct, but frequently compress the third part of the duodenum as a result of this close relationship.


Fig. 70.5  Cross sectional CT scan of pancreas at the level of the uncinate process (cross sectional level between those shown in Fig. 70.4B,C).

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