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Blood supply of the male pelvis

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the vascular structures involved in the blood supply of the male pelvis.
  2. Describe the arterial supply of the male pelvis.
  3. Describe the venous drainage of the male pelvis.

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The arterial blood supply of the male pelvis stems mainly from the internal and external iliac arteries which originate from the abdominal aorta via the common iliac artery.

The external iliac artery travels anteriorly, inferiorly and laterally in the pelvis giving off two branches before continuing its course to the thigh as the femoral artery: the inferior epigastric and deep circumflex iliac arteries. The internal iliac artery is the main artery of the pelvis and with its branches supplies the walls and viscera of the pelvis, reproductive organs, buttocks and the thigh.

A notable exception are the testes (which are supplied by the testicular 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.

The venous drainage of the male pelvis generally follows a course similar to its arterial counterparts.

Are you curious to discover more details about the arteries and veins of the male pelvis? Then watch the video below.

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Key points about the blood supply of the male 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: Obturator, umbilical, superior and inferior vesical, internal pudendal, middle anorectal and inferior gluteal arteries
External iliac artery Supply area: Lower limb, muscles and skin of the lower abdominal wall
: Inferior epigastric, deep circumflex iliac arteries
Other arteries Superior [ano]rectal artery (from inferior mesenteric artery), testicular artery (from abdominal aorta)
Veins Most veins drain to: Internal iliac vein → inferior vena cava

Superior anorectal vein → inferior mesenteric vein
Right/left testicular veins → inferior vena cava/left renal vein

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