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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Pelvis: Internal Iliac Artery

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

Internal Iliac Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The internal iliac may be longer or shorter than usual. It is seldom less than 2.5 cm in length, but may be as short as 1.2 cm or as long as 7.5 cm.

Length variation generally depends upon the length of the common iliacs; when they bifurcate higher than usual, the internal iliac is longer and may lie initally above the brim of the true pelvis. The length may also depend upon the internal iliac itself dividing higher or lower than usual into its usual branches. This division may occur anywhere between the pelvic brim and the upper border of the sacrosciatic foramen.

In some cases the branches arise without the artery dividing into an anterior and posterior division, or one or more branches arise above the division.

The internal iliac may give rise to the following: superior mesenteric, vesicoprostatic (which also supplies the testes), prostatic (which also supplies the rectum), a common trunk for a superior vesical and a profunda penis, an independent arteria penis supplying the profunda penis arteries when the dorsal penis is a branch of the internal pudendal, and / or an inferior epigastric artery.

If the internal iliac artery has a low division, a hypogastric trunk may arise, from which the superior vesical, inferior vesical, uterine, middle rectal all originate from this common, hypogastric trunk. In a report by the Committee of Collective Investigation of the Anatomical Society of Great Britian and Ireland, 1895-96 prepared by Parsons and Keith, the records of 56 observations showed that in 37 (66%) the trunk was a branch of the anterior division; in 13 (23.3%) no trunk was present; while in the remaining 6 (10.7%) it came from the internal iliac before its division into two.

Branches of the anterior and posterior divisions or the internal iliac may exchange origins.

See illustrations for some of the permutations of the internal iliac artery. If one remembers that arteries are identified only by their termination rather than their origin, the branches are always "easy" to name.

Image 68, Image 243, Image 357, Image 359, Image 470A, Image 470B, Image 476, Image 477, Image 478 Image 489

Common Iliac

Image 136, Image 241, Image 258, Image 264A, Image 264B, Image 343, Image 356, See Image 359 Image 484Image 521


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Jastschinski, S.N. (1891) Die typischen Verzweigungsformen der Arteria hypogastrica. Intern. Monatschr. für Anatomie und Physiologie 8:111-127.

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Levi, G. (1902a) Observations sur les variations de arteries iliaques. Arch. Ital. Biol. 37:489.

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Lipshutz, B. (1918) A composite study of the hypogastric artery and its branches. Ann. Surg. 67:584-608.

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Pác, L., Hamplová, M. and O. Pelcová (1977) An atypical case of arising of some parietal branches of the arteria iliaca interna in man. Anat. Anz. 141:450-454.

Parsons, F.G. and A. Keith. (1897) Sixth annual report of the Committee of Collective Investigation of the Anatomical Society of Great Britian and Ireland. Mode of origin of the branches of the internal iliac artery. J. Anat. Physiol., London 31:31-44.

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Roberts, W.H. and G.L Krishingar. (1967) Comparative study of human internal iliac artery based on Adachi classification. Anat. Rec. 158:191-196.

Senior, H.D. (1925) An interpretation of the recorded arterial anomalies of the human pelvis and thigh. Am. J. Anat. 36:1-46.

Serafini, G. (1903) Rara ferita dell'arteria ipogastrica. Il Progresso Medico 2:74-75.

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

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