Blood supply of the female pelvis
After completing this study unit you will be able to:
- Identify the vascular structures involved in the blood supply of the female pelvis.
- Describe the arterial supply of the female pelvis.
- Describe the venous drainage of the female pelvis.
The female pelvis receives the majority of its arterial supply from the external and internal iliac arteries, both of which originate from the common iliac artery. The external iliac artery travels through the pelvis and continues as the femoral artery to supply the lower limb. The internal iliac artery can be divided into an anterior and a posterior division and supplies the pelvic walls and organs as well as parts of the buttocks and thigh.
A notable exception are the ovaries (as well as parts of the uterine tube/uterus) which are supplied by the ovarian artery that arises directly from the abdominal aorta and the rectum which is largely supplied by the superior [ano]rectal branch of the inferior mesenteric artery.
For the most part, the venous drainage of the female pelvis follows a course similar to that of its arterial counterparts.
Watch our video for an introduction into the arteries and veins of the female pelvis!
Take a quiz
Make your knowledge stick with our quiz below:
Test your knowledge with a broader topic focus and take our custom quiz about the vessels, nerves and lymphatics of the pelvis!
|Internal iliac artery||
Supply area: Pelvic wall and organs, gluteal region and medial compartment of thigh (except for superior part of rectum - supplied via superior [ano]rectal branch of inferior mesenteric artery
- Posterior division: Iliolumbar, superior gluteal, lateral sacral arteries
- Anterior division: Uterine, obturator, umbilical, vaginal, superior vesical, internal pudendal, middle anorectal and inferior gluteal arteries
|External iliac artery||
Supply area: Lower limb, muscles and skin of the lower abdominal wall
Branches: Inferior epigastric and deep circumflex iliac arteries
|Other arteries||Superior anorectal artery (from inferior mesenteric artery), ovarian artery (from abdominal aorta)|
Most veins drain to: Internal iliac vein → inferior vena cava
Superior anorectal vein → inferior mesenteric vein
Right/left ovarian veins → inferior vena cava/left renal vein
Continue your learning
Take the next step and learn about the organs and the innervation of the female pelvis: