The shape of the pancreas resembles that of a tadpole; hence, anatomically, it can be divided into 4 sections―the head, neck, body, and the tail. The pancreas also has a supplementary component known as the uncinate process, which is different from other sections on the basis of anatomy.
The head section lies to the right side of the abdominal region in the close proximity of the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). It is the widest part of the pancreas, that is tucked in the C-shaped duodenal curve.
The uncinate process is an extended portion of the head that appears very similar to a hook. It is this section that is bent and forms an angle with the rest of the body.
This short section that lies between the head and the body is around 2.5 cm long. It lies posterior to the pyloric part of the stomach. The neck runs from the top-right portion of the head of the pancreas to the left, to connect with the body of the organ.
This is the major part of the pancreas that lies between its neck and tail. This body region looks very similar to a prism. The stomach is just above the body of the pancreas, and is separated by the omental bursa, a pouch that lies between these two organs.
This is the narrowest region of the pancreas, runs to the left side of the abdomen, and is adjacent to the spleen. This narrow end of the pancreas releases pancreatic polypeptide (amino acids), which helps keep a check on the secretory activity of the organ.
The body has 3 surfaces; namely, the inferior, posterior, and the anterior. The anterior surface lies opposite the front of the abdomen. The right half of this surface touches the transverse colon. The lower region of the right half touches the coils of the small intestine. The inferior surface is coated with a peritoneum serous membrane. The right side of the surface is narrower, while the left side is broader. The surface sits on the duodenojejunal―the border between the duodenum and the jejunum.
Margins refer to the border or edge of the pancreas. The pancreas is bounded by 3 margins, which include the superior, inferior, and the anterior margin. The superior margin is flat at the right, and becomes narrower as it reaches the tail. On the other hand, the inferior margin acts as a line of separation between the posterior and inferior surface. The anterior margin helps differentiate between the anterior and inferior surface of the organ.
The pancreatic duct is a small tube that runs from the head of the pancreas and enters the duodenum. It acts like a medium of connection between these two organs. In the pancreas, it runs from the left to right, and has numerous branches, known as lobular ducts. In the neck area of this organ, the pancreatic duct is slightly wider and moves downwards to connect with the common bile duct. The pancreas secretes digestive juices, which pass through the pancreatic duct and subsequently flow into the small intestine from the duodenum.
The celiac artery and the superior mesenteric artery transport blood to the pancreas. Blood circulation to the neck, body, and tail of the pancreas comes from the branches of the splenic artery, an offshoot of the celiac artery. The head of the pancreas receives blood from the superior and inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery, that moves along the border of the front and back surfaces of the head of the pancreas.