Inferior vesical artery
In males, the inferior vesical artery is a pelvic branch of the anterior division of the internal iliac artery, while in females it arises from the vaginal artery. It runs deep to the peritoneum (subperitoneal) to emerge on the inferior aspect of the urinary bladder.
In males, the main function of the inferior vesical artery is to supply blood for the fundus and neck of the male urinary bladder, prostate, seminal vesicles, vas deferens, urethra and ureter. In females, when present, it supplies the urinary bladder.
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the inferior vesical artery.
|Origin||Internal iliac artery|
|Branches||Prostatic (capsular) branches, artery of ductus deferens, urethral branches|
Males: Prostate, seminal vesicle, urinary bladder, vas deferens, pelvic part of ureter, urethra
Origin and course
In males, the inferior vesical artery arises from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. It originates either as a separate vessel, or it shares a common origin with the middle rectal artery.
The inferior vesical artery courses in the subperitoneal space and emerges onto the inferoposterior aspect of the urinary bladder.
In females, the inferior vesical artery arises as a small branch from the vaginal artery.
Branches and supply
In males, the inferior vesical artery gives rise to several branches that supply the large part of the trigone of the urinary bladder, prostate, seminal vesicles, vas deferens, urethra and the pelvic part of the ureter. It forms an anastomotic network with the superior vesical artery.
In females, it supplies the fundus of the urinary bladder and commonly forms an anastomosis with the uterine artery.
- The prostatic branches run in the neurovascular bundles towards the prostate. They provide small perforating branches that supply the prostate and seminal vesicles. The particularly clinically important branch is the apical perforator that supplies the prostatic urethral junction. It can form an anastomosis with the deep perineal artery. In some cases, the prostatic branch can also be supplied by the middle rectal artery.
- The artery to ductus deferens runs in a subperitoneal course towards the ductus deferens and supplies it. It can form anastomoses with the testicular and cremasteric arteries.
- The urethral vessels traverse the prostatovesical junction to supply the upper part of the urethra.
There is an ongoing debate on the presence of this artery in both sexes. One group of authors report that the inferior vesical artery exists only in the male population, while others think that it is present in both genders. The former explain that the vaginal artery is the female homologous vessel to this artery, while the latter report that the vaginal artery provides a small inferior vesical artery.