Deep circumflex iliac arteryThe deep circumflex iliac artery is a branch of the external iliac artery. It is located within the greater pelvis, on the medial aspect of the ala of ilium alongside the iliac crest.
The deep circumflex iliac artery gives off several perforating muscular, osseous and cutaneous branches. They contribute to the blood supply of the muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall, the iliac crest and the skin overlying the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS).
|Origin||External iliac artery|
|Branches||Perforating muscular branches; ascending branch of deep circumflex iliac artery; osseous branches; cutaneous branches|
|Supply||Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal abdominal oblique, external abdominal oblique, iliac crest, skin over the anterior superior iliac spine|
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the deep circumflex iliac artery.
The deep circumflex iliac artery originates from the lateral aspect of the external iliac artery, at an equal level to the inferior epigastric artery. It travels superolaterally towards the anterior superior iliac spine of the ilium, coursing posteriorly to the inguinal ligament. At the level of the inguinal ligament, the deep circumflex iliac artery is enveloped by the transversalis fascia and its continuous extension, the iliac fascia. Here, the artery receives anastomosis from the ascending branch of lateral circumflex femoral artery.
The deep circumflex iliac artery exits through the transversalis fascia past the midpoint of the inguinal ligament and continues halfway along the inner lip of the iliac crest. At this point, it pierces the transversus abdominis muscle and continues between the transversus abdominis and internal abdominal oblique muscles. The deep circumflex iliac artery finishes between the latter two muscles by anastomosing with the superior gluteal and iliolumbar arteries.
Branches and supply
The deep circumflex iliac artery has several branches:
- Perforating muscular branches which supply the anterolateral abdominal muscles. The most important and largest one is the ascending branch. It supplies the transversus abdominis and internal abdominal oblique muscles. The remaining smaller muscular branches vascularize the rectus abdominis and external abdominal oblique muscles.
- Cutaneous branch that supplies the skin superior to the distal half of the inguinal ligament and over the anterior superior iliac spine.
- Small, osseous branches that contribute to the blood supply of the iliac crest.
Learn more about the blood vessels of the pelvis, including the deep circumflex iliac artery, using the following study unit:
Deep circumflex iliac artery bone flap
The osseous and cutaneous branches give the deep circumflex iliac artery a very important clinical function exploited during surgeries. A common procedure involves a deep circumflex iliac artery bone flap harvested during bony reconstructions, especially of the mandible. The extensive supply provided by the deep circumflex iliac artery permits a bone graft as large as 18 cm in length and 8 cm in width. This flap can also be used as a secondary source during reconstructions of the upper and lower extremities when a fibular graft is insufficient or not feasible.