Сommon iliac artery and its branches

The common iliac artery and its branchesAn overview of the common iliac artery and its major branches
~ 4 min

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.

Aorta (aorta)
Aorta (aorta)
Aorta (aorta)
Aorta (aorta)
Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)
Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)
Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)
Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)
Arch (arcus aortae)
Arch (arcus aortae)
Arch (arcus aortae)
Arch (arcus aortae)
Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)
Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)
Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)
Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)
Right common iliac artery (arteria iliaca communis dextra)
Right common iliac artery (arteria iliaca communis dextra)
Left common iliac artery (arteria iliaca communis sinistra)
Left common iliac artery (arteria iliaca communis sinistra)
Bifurcation (bifurcatio aortae)
Bifurcation (bifurcatio aortae)

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.

Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)

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.

Parietal branches.

The iliolumbar artery (a. iliolumbalis) goes posteriorly and laterally behind the psoas major muscle, and gives off 2 branches:

Iliolumbar artery (a. iliolumbalis)
Iliolumbar artery (a. iliolumbalis)

The iliacus branch (r. iliacus) supplies the muscle of the same name and the ilium with blood.

Iliacus branch (r. iliacus)
Iliacus branch (r. iliacus)

The lumbar branch (r. lumbalis) goes to the psoas major muscle and the quadratus lumborum muscle and supplies them with blood

Lumbar branch (r. lumbalis)
Lumbar branch (r. lumbalis)

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.

Lateral sacral arteries (aa. sacrales laterales)
Lateral sacral arteries (aa. sacrales laterales)

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.

Spinal branches (rr. spinales)
Spinal branches (rr. spinales)

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.

Obturator artery (a. obturatoria)
Obturator artery (a. obturatoria)
Obturator artery (a. obturatoria)
Obturator artery (a. obturatoria)

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.

Pubic branch (r. pubicus)
Pubic branch (r. pubicus)

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.

Anterior branch (r. anterior)
Anterior branch (r. anterior)

The posterior branch (r. posterior) supplies the obturator externus muscle with blood.

Posterior branch (r. posterior)
Posterior branch (r. posterior)

The acetabular branch (r. acetabularis) arises from the posterior branch of the obturator artery and goes to the hip joint.

Acetabular branch (r. acetabularis)
Acetabular branch (r. acetabularis)

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.

Inferior gluteal artery (a. glutea inferior)
Inferior gluteal artery (a. glutea inferior)
Inferior gluteal artery (a. glutea inferior)
Inferior gluteal artery (a. glutea inferior)

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.

Sciatic nerve (a. comitans nervi ischiadici)
Sciatic nerve (a. comitans nervi ischiadici)

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:

Superior gluteal artery (a. glutea superior)
Superior gluteal artery (a. glutea superior)
Superior gluteal artery (a. glutea superior)
Superior gluteal artery (a. glutea superior)

The superficial branch (r. superficialis) supplies the skin of the gluteal region, as well as the gluteus minimus and medius muscles with blood;

Superficial branch (r. superficialis)
Superficial branch (r. superficialis)

The deep branch (r. profundus) in turn is divided into superior and inferior branches (rr. superior et inferior).

Deep branch (r. profundus)
Deep branch (r. profundus)
Superior branches (r. superior)
Superior branches (r. superior)
Superior branches (r. superior)
Superior branches (r. superior)

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.

Inferior branches (r. inferior)
Inferior branches (r. inferior)
Inferior branches (r. inferior)
Inferior branches (r. inferior)

Visceral branches.

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.

Umbilical artery (a. umbilicalis)
Umbilical artery (a. umbilicalis)
Umbilical artery (a. umbilicalis)
Umbilical artery (a. umbilicalis)

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.

Artery of the ductus deferens (a. ductus deferentis)
Artery of the ductus deferens (a. ductus deferentis)

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.

Superior vesical arteries (aa. vesicales superiores)
Superior vesical arteries (aa. vesicales superiores)
Superior vesical arteries (aa. vesicales superiores)
Superior vesical arteries (aa. vesicales superiores)
Ureteral branches (rr. ureterici)
Ureteral branches (rr. ureterici)

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).

Uterine artery (a. uterina)
Uterine artery (a. uterina)

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.

Vaginal branches (rr. vaginales)
Vaginal branches (rr. vaginales)

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.

Ovarian branch (r. ovaricus)
Ovarian branch (r. ovaricus)

The tubal branch (r. tubarius) supplies the uterine tube with blood.

Tubal branch (r. tubarius)
Tubal branch (r. tubarius)

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.

Middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media)
Middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media)
Middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media)
Middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media)

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:

Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)
Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)
Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)
Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)
Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)
Internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna)

The inferior rectal artery (a. rectalis inferior) divides into a number of branches.

Inferior rectal artery (a. rectalis inferior)
Inferior rectal artery (a. rectalis inferior)

These include the perineal artery (a. perinealis),

Include the perineal artery (a. perinealis)
Include the perineal artery (a. perinealis)

The urethral artery (a. urethralis)

Urethral artery (a. urethralis)
Urethral artery (a. urethralis)

The artery of the bulb of the penis in men (a. bulbi penis)

Artery of the bulb of the penis in men (a. bulbi penis)
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)

Deep artery of the penis (clitoris) (a. profunda penis – clitoridis)
Deep artery of the penis (clitoris) (a. profunda penis - clitoridis)

The dorsal artery of the penis (or clitoris) (a. dorsalis penis – clitoridis)

Dorsal artery of the penis (or clitoris) (a. dorsalis penis – clitoridis)
Dorsal artery of the penis (or clitoris) (a. dorsalis penis - clitoridis)
Dorsal artery of the penis (or clitoris) (a. dorsalis penis – clitoridis)
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.

External iliac artery (a. iliaca externa)
External iliac artery (a. iliaca externa)
External iliac artery (a. iliaca externa)
External iliac artery (a. iliaca externa)

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.

Femoral artery (a. femoralis)
Femoral artery (a. femoralis)

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.

Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)

The deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda) arises under the inguinal ligament and passes laterally upward along the crest of the ilium.

Deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda)
Deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda)
Deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda)
Deep circumflex iliac artery (a. circumflexa iliaca profunda)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)
Inferior epigastric artery (a. epigastrica inferior)

The pubic branch (r. pubicus), which supplies the pubis bone and its periosteum with blood.

Pubic branch (r. pubicus)
Pubic branch (r. pubicus)

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

Dictionary

The common iliac arteryand its branches

Common iliac artery
a. iliaca communis
Internal iliac artery
a. iliaca interna
External iliac artery
a. iliaca externa
Aorta
aorta
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
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