Changes in its place of origin have already been noticed. The artery itself is sometimes small, or defective in one or two, or but rarely three of its usual branches.




This artery has been tied for aneurism affecting one of its large branches on the back of the pelvis — the gluteal or sciatic.

The anastomosis which exists between the obturator artery (when that vessel is derived from the internal iliac) and the epigastric, by means of those small branches of each which ramify behind the pubes, serves to afford some explanation of one of the most striking instances of variety of origin met with in the arterial system, viz., the transfer of the origin of the obturator from the internal iliac to the epigastric artery.

The internal iliac artery [a. iliaca interna; French: Artère iliaque interne ; Syn: hypogastrica, pelvica], short and thick trunk, separates from the external iliac immediately after its origin, and dips into the pelvis to supply the walls and the viscera of that cavity.

The obturator artery [a.obturatoria], when derived from the internal iliac, usually arises from the anterior division of that vessel, but not infrequently from its posterior division. The artery is directed forwards through the pelvis to reach the groove on the under surface of the horizontal portion of the pubes, at the upper part of the thyroid foramen. Beneath this bone it passes out of the pelvis, and immediately divides into its terminal branches. In its course through the pelvis the artery is placed between the pelvic fascia and the peritoneum, a little below the obturator nerve. Beneath the pubes it lies with the nerve in an oblique canal, formed partly by the groove in the bone, and partly by fibrous tissue.




The common iliac artery, extending in a line from the left side of the umbilicus towards the middle of Poupart's ligament, and being placed at its commencement on a level with the highest part of the crest of the ilium, may be approached in an operation, by dividing the abdominal muscles to a sufficient extent, in the iliac region and a little above this part of the abdomen.

The vagina principally derives its arteries from a branch which is analogous to the inferior vesical in the male.

Besides slight differences between the arteries of the two sides, in length and direction, by no means of constant occurrence, the common iliac arteries vary in their place of origin, and in the point at which they divide.

The uterine artery [a. uterina], is directed downwards from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery towards the neck of the uterus.

The common iliac arteries, [a. iliacae communes], commencing at the bifurcation of the aorta, pass downwards and outwards, diverging from each other, and divide opposite the intervertebral substance between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum, into two branches, named the internal and external iliac arteries — the former being distributed to the walls and viscera of the pelvis, whilst the latter is prolonged into the lower limb, after having sent two important branches to the walls of the abdomen.

The urinary bladder receives several arteries, amongst which, however, may be specially recognised two principal branches, a superior and an inferior vesical artery.

The suprarenal or capsular arteries [a. suprarenales], are two very small vessels which arise from the aorta on a level with the superior mesenteric artery, and incline obliquely outwards upon the  crura of the diaphragm to reach the under surface of the suprarenal capsules, to which bodies they are distributed, anastomosing at the same time with the other capsular branches derived from the phrenic and the renal arteries. In the foetus these arteries are of large size.

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