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

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

Middle Rectal Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

This artery may be absent.

It may arise from the internal iliac with the inferior vesical artery. It has also been reported as arising with or from the internal pudendal, or inferior gluteal arteries.

Unusual branches of the middle rectal include: the vaginal, seminal vesical, prostatic, and inferior lateral sacral arteries.

In their report to the anatomical society of Great Britian and Ireland, Parsons and Keith, provided the following data. They had 45 observations. In 15 cases (33.3%) it arose by itself from the anterior division; in 10 (22.2%) it came separately from the hypogastric (Internal iliac) trunk; in 6 (13.3%) it had a common origin with the pudic (internal pudendal); in 4 (8.9%) it arose in common with the obturator; in 2 cases (4.4%), in common with the sciatic (Inferior gluteal) (in 1 of these the sciatic was a branch of the posterior division); in 2 cases, in common with the inferior vesical; in 2 with the uterine, and in 1 with the superior vesical. In 2 cases it arose by itself from the posterior division, and in one case there were 2 middle hæmorrhoidal arteries (middle rectal), 1 coming from the anterior division, the other from the posterior division in common with the lateral sacral.

Origin of the Middle Rectal Artery

1. Arises directly from the internal iliac artery


From a common trunk with:

2. Prostatic/inferior vesical artery


3. Inferior vesical artery


4. Internal pudendal


5. From the inferior sciatic/internal pudendal trunk


In some cases the artery may be multiple vessels. When there is more than one, they arise from the internal iliac, and/or the inferior vesical, and/or the internal pudendal.

Dubreuil-Chambardel (1925) found:

  1. A single artery in 74% of cases,
  2. Two arteries in 21%, and
  3. Three or four arteries in 5% of cases studied.

According to Henle, the middle rectal artery supplies the entire bladder and the prostate.

Image 243

Superior Rectal, Inferior Rectal

See Image 243


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

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, Baltimore and Munich.

Clegg, E.J. (1955) The arterial supply of the human prostate and seminal vesicles. J. Anat. 89:209-216.

Daniel, O. and R. Shackman. (1952) The blood supply of the human ureter in relation uterocolic anastomosis. Br. J. Urol. 24:334-343.

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

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., 1895-96. J. Anat. Physiol. 31:31-44.

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.

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