Thursday, May 19, 2011

Internal Iliac Artery (Hypogastric)

Also known as hypogastric artery, the internal iliac artery is a short and thick blood vessel which originates at the bifurcation of the common iliac, opposite the lumbosacral articulation, and, passing downward to the upper margin of the greater sciatic foramen, dividing into two large trunks, an anterior and a posterior. As the main artery of the pelvis, the internal iliac supplies the walls and viscera of the pelvis, the buttock, the reproductive organs, and the medial compartment of the thigh. In order to reach and supply all these areas, the hypogastric artery divides into several branches, which include: (1) iliolumbar artery to the ilium (hipbone) and muscles of the back; (2) superior and inferior gluteal arteries to the muscles of the buttocks, pelvic muscles, and the skin of the buttocks; (3) internal pudendal artery to the alimentary canal, external genitalia, and hip joint; (4) the superior and inferior vesical arteries to the urinary bladder and, in males, the prostate gland; (5) middle rectal artery to the rectum; and (6) uterine artery to the uterus and vagina in females.