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External Iliac Artery
Cardiovascular System

External Iliac Artery

Arteria iliaca externa

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Quick Facts

Origin: Common iliac artery.

Course: Descends along the medial border of psoas major to the inguinal ligament.

Branches: Inferior epigastric, deep circumflex iliac, and femoral arteries.

Supplied Structures: Muscles of the anterolateral abdominal and lower limb.

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The common iliac artery bifurcates into the external iliac and the internal iliac artery at the level of fourth lumbar vertebrae.


The external iliac artery descends laterally along the medial border of psoas major muscle to enter the thigh below the inguinal ligament, at the mid-point between the anterior superior iliac spine and the pubic symphysis.


The external iliac artery has no branches until it reaches the inguinal ligament. Here, it gives off the deep circumflex iliac artery and inferior epigastric artery. The external iliac artery continues as the femoral artery distal to the inguinal ligament.

Supplied Structures

The external iliac artery supplies muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall. The continuation of the external iliac as the femoral artery is the main arterial supply of the lower limb.

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External Iliac Artery

ScienceDirect image

The internal iliac (formerly hypogastric) lymph nodes are small, paired nodes caudal to the medial iliac nodes, located medial to the external iliac arteries and between the internal iliac and median sacral arteries.

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