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Inferior Epigastric Artery
Cardiovascular System

Inferior Epigastric Artery

Arteria epigastrica inferior

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Quick Facts

Origin: External iliac artery.

Course: Superiorly within the rectus sheath.

Branches: Pubic branch, accessory obturator artery, artery of round ligament of the uterus (females) or cremasteric artery (males).

Supplied Structures: Anterolateral abdominal wall and external genitalia.

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Origin

The inferior epigastric artery originates from the external iliac artery close to the inguinal ligament.

Course

The inferior epigastric artery ascends in a superomedial direction anterior to the inguinal ligament within the extraperitoneal fat. The artery crosses the medial aspect of the deep inguinal ring. It traverses the transversalis fascia and travels superiorly within the rectus sheath.

During its ascent from the medial aspect of the deep inguinal ring within the rectus sheath, it provides prominence to the lateral umbilical fold and forms the lateral margin of the inguinal (or Hesselbach’s) triangle. At approximately the level of the umbilicus, it anastomoses with the superior and superficial epigastric arteries.

Branches

The inferior epigastric artery gives rise to a pubic branch and the accessory obturator artery, and several unnamed muscular and cutaneous branches. Additionally, in females, the artery of the round ligament of the uterus arises from the inferior epigastric artery. The male equivalent is the cremasteric artery.

Supplied Structures

The muscular and cutaneous branches arising from the inferior epigastric artery supply the muscles, peritoneum, aponeurosis, and skin of the anterolateral abdominal wall.

The pubic branch supplies the pubic bones and the pubic symphysis. Sometimes, an accessory obturator artery arises from the inferior epigastric artery and provides additional supply to the area supplied by the obturator artery (Dorland, 2011).

The artery to the round ligament of the uterus supplies the area around the round ligament, while the cremasteric artery supplies the cremaster muscle.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Caput medusae

References

Dorland, W. (2011) Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd edn. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier Saunders.

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