At the fourth lumbar vertebra, the abdominal aorta branches into the common iliac arteries. Being a paired structure, the common iliac artery and its branches are present on the right, as well as the left side. The common iliac arteries could be as short as 1.2 cm or as long as 11 cm. However, the length usually varies between 3.7 to 7.5 cm. The branches of the common iliac are involved in supplying blood to the organs in the pelvic region.
➠ Superior vesical artery (supplies vas deferens in males)
➠ Obliterated umbilical artery (continuation of superior vesical)
➠ Inferior vesical artery
The aforementioned branches supply blood to the bladder.
Its three visceral branches include:
➠ Middle rectal artery
➠ Uterine artery in females
➠ Vaginal artery in females (corresponds to the inferior vesical artery in males)
It has three parietal branches that include:
➠ Obturator artery
➠ Internal pudendal artery (terminal branch)
➠ Inferior gluteal artery (terminal branch)
The posterior division of the internal iliac artery has three parietal branches. These include:
➠ Iliolumbar artery
➠ Lateral sacral artery
➠ Superior gluteal artery
The iliolumbar artery passes upwards out of the pelvis in front of the lumbosacral trunk. It supplies blood to the psoas and quadratus lumborum. It also gives off a spinal branch into the foramen between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the sacrum. Its iliac branch supplies blood to the iliacus muscle and the iliac bone. The lateral sacral artery gives off a superior and inferior branch. Its inferior branch travels in front of the sacral ventral rami. Running laterally to the anterior sacral foramina, which is located in front of the roots of the sacral plexus, the lateral sacral artery supplies blood to the roots and piriformis in the pelvic region. The superior gluteal artery passes between the lumbosacral trunk and the ventral ramus of S1. It supplies blood to the greater sciatic foramen, which is located above the upper border of piriformis.
The superior and inferior vesical arteries supply blood to the bladder, whereas the middle rectal artery supplies blood to the muscular wall of the rectum. The superior vesical artery is also responsible for the blood supply to the adjacent ureter and vas deferens. The inferior vesical artery, provides blood to the lower section of the bladder, ureter, vas deferens, seminal vesicle, as well as prostate. The umbilical artery gives rise to the artery to the ductus deferens in men.
The uterine artery runs above the ureter and extends upwards at the cervix. It provides blood to the uterine tube and joins the tubal branch of the ovarian artery. The vaginal artery, which might be a branch of the uterine artery, provides blood to the upper part of the vagina.
A small branch of the obturator artery provides blood to the periosteum of the back of the pubis. The obturator artery supplies blood to the obturator canal. It also joins with the pubic branch of the inferior epigastric artery. The inferior gluteal artery exits the pelvic region through the greater sciatic foramen and runs to the buttock. In front of the inferior gluteal artery lies the internal pudendal artery, which exits the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen.
➠ Inferior epigastric artery
➠ Deep iliac circumflex artery
➠ Femoral artery
Running inferior to the inguinal ligament, the external iliac artery becomes the femoral artery, which is responsible for supplying blood to the thighs. Arising right above the external iliac, the inferior epigastric artery joins the superior epigastric artery. The deep iliac circumflex artery arises from the side of the external iliac. At the anterior superior iliac spine, it joins a branch of the lateral femoral circumflex artery. The deep iliac circumflex artery mainly supplies blood to the anterior iliac crest bone flap.