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Superior vesical artery

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Arteries and veins of the female pelvis.
Superior vesical artery (Arteria vesicalis superior)

The superior vesical artery represents the proximal, patent part of the umbilical artery, a branch of the anterior division of internal iliac artery. The artery is located within the lesser pelvis along the posterior surface of the pubis. It supplies the ureter, urinary bladder, ductus deferens and seminal gland.

The superior vesical artery mainly provides small, visceral branches to the surrounding organs. In males, however, it also gives off the artery to ductus deferens. The superior vesical artery is continued by the occluded part of the umbilical artery (medial umbilical ligament).

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the superior vesical artery.

Key facts about the superior vesical artery
Origin Anterior division of internal iliac artery, as the patent part of umbilical artery
Branches Visceral branches, artery to ductus deferens (in males)
Supply Ureter, urinary bladder, ductus deferens, seminal gland
  1. Origin and course
  2. Branches and supply
  3. Anatomic variation
  4. Sources
+ Show all

Origin and course

The superior vesical artery arises as the first branch of the anterior division of internal iliac artery, inferior to the pelvic brim and on the lateral wall of the lesser pelvis. From here, the superior vesical artery travels anteroinferiorly, medial to the posterior surface of pubis. Then, it continues towards the superior surface of the urinary bladder. At this point, the superior vesical artery anastomoses with the inferior vesical artery in males and with the uterine artery in females.

The superior vesical artery is continued distally by the occluded part of the umbilical artery, commonly known as the medial umbilical ligament. Its only known function in the postnatal life is to support the urinary bladder.

Branches and supply

The superior vesical artery has several branches:

  • Visceral branches supplying the fundus of urinary bladder and the distal end of the ureter.
  • Artery to ductus deferens (males), which supplies the proximal end of the ductus deferens and the seminal glands.

Learn more about the arteries of the pelvis, including the superior vesical artery, using the following study unit.

Anatomic variation

The superior vesical artery exhibits a lot of anatomical variation in terms of occurrence and origin. According to classical anatomical textbooks, there can be up to five superior vesical arteries in total. The most common number is two, which is present in 70-74% of cases.

In terms of origin, some studies concluded that the superior vesical artery stems from the anterior trunk of internal iliac artery in 92% of cases. However, other studies have shown that it can emerge from the common trunk of the iliac artery in 75% of cases, proximal to the branching point of the latter into the anterior and posterior divisions.

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