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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Abdomen: Gonadal (Ovarian and Spermatic) Arteries

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Abdomen

Gonadal (Ovarian and Spermatic or Testicular) Arteries

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

If one or both testicular arteries are missing, the testes are supplied by branches from the vesical or prostatic arteries passing under the arch of the pubis.

One or both gonadal arteries may arise from the renal arteries; more rarely, they arise from the middle suprarenal or lumbar arteries.

One may branch off higher than the other.

They may arise from a common stem, and one or both may be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled throughout or in a particular part of their course.

The right spermatic may run behind, instead of in front of, the inferior vena cava.

A left testicular artery was found that arose 1 cm cranial to the inferior phrenic artery or, more plainly stated, just beneath the diaphragm. This artery gave rise to two branches, one to the costal part of the diaphragm and the other to the suprarenal gland (Shinohara, et al). In another study of 405 testicular/ovarian arteries, forty originated from the aorta cranial to the renal vein (Notkovich) but none arose as high as the Shinohara, et al's case.

The gonadal arteries have been found arching over the left renal vein, and have been identified as the origin of inferior suprarenal branches.

One or both gonadal arteries might pass through a cleft formed by partially doubled gonadal veins. No sex-related differences in origin of these arteries have been reported.

The gonadal arteries usually arise from the anterior surface of the aorta below the renal vein, although cases have been reported of origins behind or above the renal vein. In one such case, a left testicular artery arose 1 cm cranial to the inferior phrenic artery.

In 15% of cases, the gonadal arteries arise from the renal artery, from one of the branches of the renal artery, or from a supernumerary or "accessory" renal artery.

The right gonadal may arise from a renal artery, the left from the aorta or vice versa.

More rarely, a gonadal can originate from a suprarenal, inferior phrenic, superior mesenteric, lumbar, common iliac, or internal iliac or inferior polar renal artery. Adachi reported that testicular and suprarenal arteries arose from a common trunk with a frequency of one in 26 suprarenal glands.

In some cases (17%), the gonadal arteries are doubled on one side; less commonly, they are doubled on both sides.

The two gonadals may have an aortic and a renal origin or both may have the same origin.

The inferior vessel of doubled gonadal arteries is usually of aortic origin, whereas the one arising superiorly can be from either the renal artery or the aorta. In one case, the superior (lateral) artery arose from the right renal artery and the inferior (medial) arose from an inferior renal polar artery.

Occasionally, gonadal arteries arising from the aorta have two or three roots which subsequently merge into one. Their origins are generally between the first and third lumbar vertebrae.

Gonadal arteries have been classified into three types according to their relationship to the renal vein. One clinically and surgically important fact is that gonadal arteries, by crossing the the renal vein, are frequently components of the renal pedicle (18% of all cases, on the left side about 34% and on the right about 16%).

Testicular or ovarian arteries may arise from the aorta or renal artery and take the following course: arising behind, and below, or above the renal artery and descending into the pelvis; arising behind or below the renal vein with the left artery ascending from behind the renal vein to curve over its upper border (lateral to the suprarenal vein) and then descending (anterior to the renal vein) to the pelvis; and as an arched artery passing in front of the renal vein when that vein passes behind the aorta.

When the gonadal arteries arise behind or below the renal vein, as just described, the right artery usually descends to the pelvis behind (posterior to) the renal vein. The arched ovarian or testicular artery (of Luschka) occurs in 22% of cases.

Image 406, Image 410, Image 411, Image 520


Image 48, Image 354, Image 474, Image 475


Image 247


See Image 247


Adachi, B. (1928) Das Arteriensystem der Japaner II (pp73-74). Maruzen Publishing Co., Kyoto und Tokyo.

Anson, B.J., Ed. (1966) Morris' Human Anatomy, 12th ed., The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Anson, B.J. and L.E. Kurth (1955) Common variations in renal blood supply. Surg., Gynecol. & Obstet., 100:156-162.

Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich and Baltimore.

Bergman, R.A., Cassel, M.D., Sahinoglu, K. and P.M. Heidger, Jr. (1992) Human doubled renal and testicular arteries. Anat. Anz. 174:313-315.

Dawson, A.B. and J.H. Ries. (1922) An anomalous arterial supply to suprarenal, kidney and ovary. Anat. Rec. 23:161-168.

Dew, A.B. and M.M. Saxton. (1970) Angiographic demonstration of renal artery origins of the testicular arteries in a case of horseshoe kidney. J. Urol., Baltimore 103:274-276.

Dziallas, P. (1947-48) über eine bisher unbekannte Variation der Vena spermatica dextra. Anat. Anz. 96:348-352.

Dziallas, P. (1949-50) über die Klappenverhältnisse der Venae spermaticae des Menschen. Anat. Anz. 97:57-63.

Gérard, G. (1913) Sur les variations d'origine et de nombre des artères génitales, spermatique ou ovariennes, de l'homme. Soc. Biol., Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances et Mémoires 74:778.

Gérard, G. (1913) Sur les variations d'origine et de nombre des artères gènitales internes de l'homme. Statistique établie d'après l'examen de 100 sujets. Bibliographie Anatomique 23:206-220.

Gruber, W. (1880) Duplicität der arteria spermatica interna bei Ursprung der supernumerären Arterie aus der Arteria iliaca communis. Arch Pathol. Anat. Physiol. Klin Med. 81:457-459.

Harrison, R.G. (1949) The distribution of the vasal and cremasteric arteries to the testis and their functional importance. J. Anat. 83:267-281.

Harrison, R.G. and A.E. Barclay (1949) Distribution of testicular artery (internal spermatic) to human testis. Br. J. Urol. 20:57-66.

Kostinovitch, L.I. (1937) A case of simultaneous occurrence of a number of variations of the visceral branches of the abdominal aorta. Anat. Rec. 67:399-403.

Kurrat, H.J. and M.Hesse. (1979) Doppelbildung der arteria testicularis sinistra und Verlaufsvarianten- Eine entwicklungsgeschichtliche Betrachtung. Anat. Anz. 145:303-307.

Lippert, H. and R. Pabst. (1985) Arterial Variations in Man. J.F. Bergmann Verlag, München.

Luisada, A.A. (1961) Development and Structure of the Cardiovascular System. The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Marsh, T. (1898) Abnormal arrangement of spermatic arteries and of the right cord of the testis. J. Anat. Physiol. 32:216-217.

Merklin, R.J. and N.A. Michels. (1958) The variant renal and suprarenal blood supply with data on the inferior phrenic, ureteral, and gonadal arteries. A statistical analysis based on 185 dissections and review of the literature. J. Internat. College Surg. 29:41-76.

Montero, M. Anomalia de la arteria aspermática derecha. La Cronica Medica 14:293.

Nathan, H. (1963) Aberrant renal artery producing developmental anomaly of Kidney associated with unusual course of gonadal (ovarian) vessels. J. Urol., Baltimore 89:570-572.

Nathan, H., Tobias, P.V. and M.D. Wellsted. (1976) An unusual case of right and left testicular arteries arching over the left renal vein. Br. J. Urol. 48:135-138.

Notkovitch, H. (1956) Testicular artery arching over renal vein: clinical and pathological considerations with special reference to varicocele. Brit. J. Urol., London 48:135-138.

Notkovitch, H. (1956) Variations of the testicular and ovarian arteries in relation to the renal pedicle. Surg., Gynecol. Obstet. 103:487-495.

Otulakowski, B. and W. Wozniak. (1975) A case of origin of the testicular artery from the renal artery, and course of the testicular artery behind the inferior vena cava. Folia Morphol., Warsaw 34:349-351.

Panek-Mikula, J. and K.A. Górski. (1977) Development and clinical aspects of altered course of the left testicular artery in man. Folia Morphol., Warsaw. 36:323-328.

Pick, J.W. and B.J. Anson. (1940) The renal vascular pedicle. J. Urol., London 44:411-434.

Poynter, C.W.M. (1922) Congenital anomalies of the arteries and veins of the human body with bibliography. University Studies of the University of Nebraska 22:1-106.

Rosenbauer, K.A. (1959) Beitrag zur Variation der Vasa renalia. Abnormer Verlauf einer rechten A. renalis unter der Mündung der V. spermatica und Einmündung einer rechten Nierenvene in die V. spermatica. Anat. Anz. 107:209-215.

Sandifort, Ed. (1777) Arteriae spermatica duplex, p. 126. Observations Anatomico-Pathologicae, Apud P.v.d. Eyk et D. Vygh, Leiden.

Sheheta, S. (1964) Arterial supply of the suprarenal glands from the testicular arteries in an Arabian cadaver. Gunma J. Med Sci. 13:297-300.

Shinohara, H., Nakatani, T., Fukuo, Y., Morisawa, S. and T. Matsuda. Case with a high-positioned origin of the testicular artery. The Anat. Rec. 226:264-266.

Winslow, R. (1883) A study of the malformations, variations, and anomalies of the circulatory apparatus in man. Annals of Anatomy and Surgery 7:93-94.

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