The aorta (aorta) is the largest vessel in the human body. It gives rise to all the arteries of the systemic circulation. It divides into the ascending aorta, the arch, and the descending aorta. Then it ends with bifurcation and divides into two common iliac arteries.
The common iliac artery (a. iliaca communis) arises from the aortic bifurcation and passes inferiorly and laterally towards the lesser pelvis. At the level of the sacro-iliac joint, it divides into two large branches called the internal and external iliac arteries.
Let’s briefly consider these branches:
The internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna) descends into the region of the lesser pelvis along the medial side of the psoas major muscle. At the superior border of the greater sciatic foramen, the artery gives off two groups of branches: parietal and visceral. It supplies the walls and organs of the pelvis with blood.
The external iliac artery (a. iliaca externa) supplies blood to the lower limb, abdominal muscles, iliac muscle, as well as the scrotum in men, and the pubis and labia majora in women.
Let’s consider the branches of the internal iliac artery.
The iliolumbar artery (a. iliolumbalis) goes posteriorly and laterally behind the psoas major muscle, and gives off 2 branches:
The iliacus branch (r. iliacus) supplies the muscle of the same name and the ilium with blood.
The lumbar branch (r. lumbalis) goes to the psoas major muscle and the quadratus lumborum muscle and supplies them with blood
The spinal branch (r. spinalis) arises from the lumbar branch and goes to the sacral canal, where it supplies the roots of the spinal nerves and the membranes of the spinal cord with blood.
The lateral sacral arteries (aa. sacrales laterales) arise next to the iliolumbar artery.
They go down the lateral part of the pelvic surface of the sacrum and give off the spinal branches (rr. spinales). These branches pass through the anterior sacral foramina to the membranes of the spinal cord and the roots of the spinal nerves.
They supply the sacrum, ligaments of the sacrum and coccyx, the membranes of the spinal cord, the levator ani muscle, the piriformis muscle, and the deep muscles of the back with blood.
The obturator artery (a. obturatoria) goes anteriorly along the lateral wall of the lesser pelvis. It gives off a number of branches along its way.
The first of them is the pubic branch (r. pubicus), which anastomoses with the obturator branch of the inferior epigastric artery at the medial semicircle of the deep ring of the femoral canal.
From the pelvic cavity, the obturator artery passes to the thigh through the obturator canal, where it divides into anterior and posterior branches.
The anterior branch (r. anterior) supplies the skin of the external genitalia, the obturator externus and adductor muscles of the thigh with blood.
The posterior branch (r. posterior) supplies the obturator externus muscle with blood.
The acetabular branch (r. acetabularis) arises from the posterior branch of the obturator artery and goes to the hip joint.
It supplies the walls of the acetabulum and the head of the femur with blood. The branch passes to the head of the femur through the thickness of its ligament.
The obturator artery supplies blood to the pubic symphysis, ilium bone, head of the femur, hip joint and a number of muscles, including the iliopsoas, quadratus femoris muscle, levator ani muscle, internal and external obturator muscles, adductor muscles of the thigh, pectineus and gracilis muscles.
The inferior gluteal artery (a. glutea inferior) passes anteriorly and exits the pelvic cavity through an infrapiriform foramen.
On its way, it gives off the artery to the sciatic nerve (a. comitans nervi ischiadici), which supplies the sciatic nerve with blood.
The inferior gluteal artery supplies the hip joint, skin of the gluteal region, and a number of muscles: the gluteus maximus muscle, piriformis muscle, adductor magnus muscle of the thigh, obturator internus and externus muscles, quadratus femoris muscle, superior and inferior gemellus muscles, semitendinosus muscle, semimembranous muscle, and the long head of the biceps femoris.
The superior gluteal artery (a. glutea superior) goes laterally to the suprapiriform foramen and passes through it into the gluteal region, where it is divided into:
The superficial branch (r. superficialis) supplies the skin of the gluteal region, as well as the gluteus minimus and medius muscles with blood;
The deep branch (r. profundus) in turn is divided into superior and inferior branches (rr. superior et inferior).
The superior branch supplies the gluteus minimus and medius muscles with blood, and the inferior branch goes to the same muscles, and also supplies the hip joint with blood.
The umbilical artery (a. umbilicalis) arises from the anterior semicircle of the internal iliac artery, goes anterosuperiorly, where it lies on the posterior surface of the anterior wall of the abdomen and rises to the umbilicus under the peritoneum. In the fetus, this artery functions throughout its entire length. After birth, most of the umbilical artery becomes desolate and turns into an umbilical ligament.
The initial part of the umbilical artery continues to function, the artery of the ductus deferens and the superior vesical arteries arise from it.
The artery of the ductus deferens (a. ductus deferentis) accompanies this duct and supplies its walls with blood.
The superior vesical arteries (aa. vesicales superiores) pass to the body of the urinary bladder and give off the ureteral branches (rr. ureterici) near its walls to the terminal part of the ureter. There is a total of 2-3 of these arteries.
The uterine artery (a. uterina) also arises from the anterior semicircle of the internal iliac artery, goes down into the pelvic cavity, to the uterus (between two sheaths of the broad ligament of the uterus).
On its course, the artery crosses the ureter. Along the way, the uterine artery gives off the vaginal, ovarian, and tubal branches.
Vaginal branches (rr. vaginales) go inferiorly to the lateral wall of the vagina.
The ovarian branch (r. ovaricus) goes to the ovary in the thickness of its mesentery, where it anastomoses with the branches of the ovarian artery.
The tubal branch (r. tubarius) supplies the uterine tube with blood.
The middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media) arises from the internal iliac artery, goes to the lateral wall of the rectal ampulla, supplies its middle and inferior parts, as well as adjacent seminal vesicles, prostate gland (in men), ureter, vagina (in women), and the levator ani muscle with blood.
The internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna) is the terminal branch of the internal iliac artery. It exits the pelvic cavity through the infrapiriform foramen (together with the inferior gluteal artery), circumflexes the ischial spine and through the lesser sciatic foramen enters the pelvic cavity again into the ischiorectal fossa. In this fossa, the following arteries arise from the internal pudendal artery:
The inferior rectal artery (a. rectalis inferior) divides into a number of branches.
These include the perineal artery (a. perinealis),
The urethral artery (a. urethralis)
The artery of the bulb of the penis in men (a. bulbi penis)
Artery of the bulb of the vestibule of the vagina in women (a. bulbi vestibuli) The deep artery of the penis (clitoris) (a. profunda penis – clitoridis)
The dorsal artery of the penis (or clitoris) (a. dorsalis penis – clitoridis)
All these arteries go to the corresponding organs and supply them with blood (the inferior part of the rectum, urethra, skin and muscles of the perineum, vagina in women, bulbourethral glands in men, external genitalia, and obturator internus muscle).
The external iliac artery (a. iliaca externa) arises at the level of the sacro-iliac joint, being a continuation of the common iliac artery. It goes peritoneally in the inferior and anterior directions along the medial border of the psoas major muscle to the inguinal ligament, then passes under the inguinal ligament through the vascular space and into the femoral artery.
The branches supply the muscles of the abdomen, the iliacus muscle, as well as the scrotum in men, the mons pubis and labia majora in women.
The artery is paired, with an identical bilateral location.
It has two branches.
The inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior) arises above the inguinal ligament and passes medially and upwards along the posterior surface of the rectus abdominis muscle in the thickness of the anterior abdominal wall, into the sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle. The artery gives off a number of branches.
The deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda) arises under the inguinal ligament and passes laterally upward along the crest of the ilium.
The pubic branch (r. pubicus), which supplies the pubis bone and its periosteum with blood.
The obturator branch (r. obturatorius), which arises from the pubic artery, which anastomoses with the pubic branch of the obturator artery.
In men, at the level of the deep inguinal ring, the cremasteric artery (a. cremasterica) arises, which supplies the membranes of the spermatic cord and testicle, as well as the cremaster muscle with blood.
In women, such an artery is called the artery of the round ligament of the uterus (a. ligamenti teretis uteri), and as part of this ligament it reaches the skin of the external genitalia.
It supplies blood to the anterior wall of the abdomen and its muscles, including transverse, oblique, iliac, tensor fasciae latae of the thigh, and sartorius muscles.
It anastomoses with the branches of the iliolumbar artery.
In addition to the large branches described, the external iliac artery, like most arteries, has many unnamed lesser branches. These branches supply the adjacent lymph nodes and the psoas major muscle with blood.
The branches of the thoracic and abdominal aorta anastomose with each other, and the branches of the abdominal aorta anastomose with the branches of the iliac arteries
The common iliac arteryand its branches
- Common iliac artery
- a. iliaca communis
- Internal iliac artery
- a. iliaca interna
- External iliac artery
- a. iliaca externa
- Inferior epigastric artery
- a. epigastrica inferior
- Pubic branch
- r. pubicus
- Obturator branch
- r. obturatorius
- Cremasteric artery
- a. cremasterica
- Arteries of the roundligament of the uterus
- a. ligamentiteretis uteri
- Deep circumflexiliac artery
- a. circumflexa iliaca profunda
- Iliacus branch
- r. iliacus
- Lumbar branch
- r. lumbalis
- Spinal branches
- r. spinalis
- Lateral sacral arteries
- aa. sacrales laterales
- Obturator artery
- a. obturatoria
- Anterior branch
- r. anterior
- Posterior branch
- r. posterior
- Acetabular branch
- r. acetabularis
- Inferior gluteal artery
- a. glutea inferior
- Artery to the sciatic nerve
- a. comitans nervi ischiadici
- Superior gluteal artery
- a. glutea superior
- Deep branch
- r. profundus
- Superior and inferior branches
- rr. superior et inferior
- Umbilical artery
- a. umbilicalis
- Artery of the ductusdeferens
- a. ductusdeferentis
- Superior vesical arteries
- aa. vesicales superiores
- Ureteric branches
- rr. ureterici
- Uterine artery
- a. uterina
- Vaginal branches
- rr. vaginales
- Ovarian branch
- r. ovaricus
- Tubal branch
- r. tubarius
- Middle rectal artery
- a. rectalis media
- Internal pudendal artery
- a. pudenda interna
- Inferior rectal artery
- a. rectalis inferior
- Perineal artery
- a. perinealis
- Urethral artery
- a. urethralis
- Artery of the bulb of thepenis
- a. bulbipenis
- Artery of the bulb of the vestibule of the vagina
- a. bulbi vestibuli
- Deep artery of the penis
- a. profunda penis
- Dorsal artery of the penis
- a. dorsalis penis
- Iliolumbar artery
- a. iliolumbalis