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Internal Iliac Artery

The internal iliac artery arises from the common iliac artery at the level of the sacroiliac joint. It passes down in the pelvis and on reaching the upper border of the greater sciatic foramen, divides into:

a. Anterior division

b. Posterior division

The branches of the internal iliac artery supply the pelvic viscera, the peritoneum, the pelvic walls and the buttocks.

Grey’s Anatomy 20th edition


Anterior Division:

1. Umbilical Artery:

The umbilical artery gives off a branch from the proximal portion known as the superior vesical artery, supplying the upper portion of the bladder.

2. Obturator Artery:

The obturator artery accompanies the obturator nerve moving along the lateral wall of the pelvis. It leaves the obturator canal by passing through the obturator canal.

3. Inferior Vesical Artery:

The inferior vesical artery gives off a branch known as the artery to the vas deferens and supplies the prostate, base of the bladder and the seminal vesicles in the males.

4. Middle Rectal Artery:

The middle rectal artery forms anastomosis along with the superior and inferior rectal arteries and supplies the muscles of the lower rectum. Most of the times, the artery arises along with the inferior vesical artery.

5. Internal Pudendal Artery:

The internal pudendal artery enters the gluteal region below the piriformis muscle by leaving the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen. It then passes through the lesser sciatic foramen to enter the perineum. It moves forward in the pudendal canal along with the pudendal nerve.

The internal pudendal nerve supplies the muscles of the anal canal, skin and muscles of the perineum.

6. Inferior Gluteal Artery:

The inferior gluteal artery pass through the greater sciatic foramen below the piriformis muscle, leaving the pelvis. It lies between the first and second or the second and third sacral nerves.

7. Uterine Artery:

The uterine artery crosses the ureter superiorly, moving medially on the floor of the pelvis. It reaches the uterus by passing above the lateral fornix of the vagina. It ascends along the lateral margin of the uterus lying between the layers of the broad ligament.

It anastomosis with the ovarian artery and gives off a vaginal branch.

8. Vaginal Artery:

The vaginal artery supplies the vagina and the base of the bladder. It takes the place of the inferior vesical artery in the male.

Posterior Division:

1. Iliolumbar Artery:

The iliolumbar artery lies posterior to the external iliac vessels, psoas and the iliacus muscles ascending across the pelvic inlet.

2. Lateral Sacral Arteries:

The lateral sacral arteries move downwards in front of the sacral plexus, supplying the neighboring structures.

3. Superior Gluteal Artery:

The superior gluteal artery supplies the gluteal region by passing through the greater sciatic foramen above the piriformis muscle.

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