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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

Artery of the Penis

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The penile artery (artery of the penis) may have anastomoses between the two sides. The penile artery may anastomose, immediately after its division, by a large anastomosis with the artery of the opposite side. The penile artery of one side may have a bilateral distribution. Anatomical and angiographical studies have demonstrated variation in the number and subdivisions of the cavernosal arteries. Helweg, et al., reported that the penile shaft was evaluated to detect arterial anatomical variations. In 8 patients (21%) there were unilateral variations in 6 and bilateral in 2. The most common variation was duplication of the cavernous artery. Eleven patients (29%) had an accessory vessel in the corpus cavernosum arising from the dorsal penile artery. The cavernous artery often shows variation in origin and number, which were identified by enhanced Color Doppler Imaging (CDI).

Mena, et al., evaluated the occurrence of arterial vascular anastomoses and anatomic variations in the deep penile arterial system analyzed by CDI. Among Arterial Vascular Anastomoses and Anatomic Variations (AVAAV) the following were noted:

  1. basal bifurcation of cavernous arteries (9 right; 6 left)
  2. cavernous-dorsal anastomosis (9 right; 5 left)
  3. intercavernous anastomosis (3)
  4. cavernous-spongiosum anastomosis (4)
  5. cavernous artery branching from the dorsal artery (3 left; 2 right)
  6. lateral-lateral anastomosis in the same cavernous artery (2)
  7. "H" anastomosis between the central cavernous and dorsal arteries
  8. duplication of both cavernous and spongiosum arteries (1)
  9. trifurcation of the cavernous artery at its origin (1).

AVAAV's reported above by Mena, et al., in 31 patients (62%); 20 had only one, 9 had 2 and 1 had 3 AVAAV's. The most frequent AVAAV's were cavernous artery branching and cavernous-dorsal arterial anastomosis in the penile region.


Dubreuil-Chambardel, L. (1925) Traité des Variations du Systèm Artériel. Variations des Artères du Pelvis et du Membre Inferieur. Masson et Cie, Eds., Paris.

Helveg, G., Frauscher, F., Studden, M., Amort, A., Pallwein, L. and G. Bartsch. (2000) Anatomical variations of penile arteries; assessment of color doppler imaging. Am. J. Roentgenology (Supplement, 100th Annual Meeting, Abstract 35) 174(3):11.

Mena, G., Oliveira, J.A., Ajzen, S., Claro, J. and E. Oliveiro. (2000) Incidence of arterial vascular anastomoses and anatomic variations (AVAAV) in the penile arterial system analyzed by color Doppler imaging after intravenous injection of prostaglandin (PGE1). Am. J. Roentgenology (Supplement, 100th Annual Meeting, Abstract 36) 174(3):11.

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