734
UNIT 4
Maintenance of the Body
19
Table 19.8
Arteries of the Pelvis and Lower Limbs
At the level of the sacroiliac joints, the
common iliac arteries
divide into two major branches, the internal and external iliac
arteries
(Figure 19.25a)
. Te internal iliacs distribute blood
mainly to the pelvic region. Te external iliacs primarily serve
the lower limbs but also send branches to the abdominal wall.
Description and Distribution
Internal iliac arteries.
Tese paired arteries run into the pelvis
and distribute blood to the pelvic walls and viscera (bladder
and rectum, plus the uterus and vagina in the female and the
prostate and ductus deferens in the male). Additionally they
serve the gluteal muscles via the
superior
and
inferior gluteal
arteries
, adductor muscles of the medial thigh via the
obtura-
tor artery
, and external genitalia and perineum via the
inter-
nal pudendal artery
(not illustrated).
External iliac arteries.
Tese arteries supply the lower limbs
(Figure 19.25b). As they course through the pelvis, they give
off branches to the anterior abdominal wall. A±er passing un-
der the inguinal ligaments to enter the thigh, they become the
femoral arteries.
Femoral arteries.
As each of these arteries passes down the
anteromedial thigh, it gives off several branches to the thigh
muscles. Te largest of the deep branches is the
deep artery
of the thigh
(also called the
deep femoral artery
), which is the
main supply to the thigh muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, and
adductors). Proximal branches of the deep femoral artery, the
lateral
and
medial circumflex femoral arteries
, encircle the
neck of the femur. Te medial circumflex artery is the major
vessel to the head of the femur. If it is torn in a hip fracture, the
bone tissue of the head of the femur dies. A long descending
branch of the lateral circumflex artery supplies the vastus later-
alis muscle. Near the knee the femoral artery passes posteriorly
and through a gap in the adductor magnus muscle, the
adduc-
tor hiatus
, to enter the popliteal fossa, where its name changes
to popliteal artery.
Popliteal artery.
Tis posterior vessel contributes to an arte-
rial anastomosis that supplies the knee region and then splits
into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries of the leg.
Anterior tibial artery.
Te anterior tibial artery runs through
the anterior compartment of the leg, supplying the extensor
muscles along the way. At the ankle, it becomes the
dorsalis
pedis artery
, which supplies the ankle and dorsum of the
foot, and gives off a branch, the
arcuate artery
, which issues
the
dorsal metatarsal arteries
to the metatarsus of the foot.
Te superficial dorsalis pedis ends by penetrating into the
sole where it forms the medial part of the
plantar arch
. Te
dorsalis pedis artery provides a clinically important pulse
point, the pedal pulse. If the pedal pulse is easily felt, it is
fairly certain that the blood supply to the leg is good.
Superior
gluteal
artery
Inferior
gluteal
artery
Internal
pudendal
Medial
circumflex
femoral
artery
Lateral
circumflex
femoral
artery
Internal
iliac
artery
Obturator
artery
External
iliac
artery
Deep artery
of thigh
Femoral
artery
Adductor
hiatus
Arterial
anastomosis
Anterior
tibial
artery
Popliteal
artery
Fibular
(peroneal)
artery
Lateral
plantar
artery
Posterior tibial
artery
Dorsalis
pedis
artery
Arcuate
artery
Lateral
plantar
artery
Dorsal
metatarsal
arteries
Plantar arch
Medial
plantar
artery
(a) Schematic flowchart
Abdominal
aorta
Common
iliac
artery
Plantar
metatarsal
arteries
Figure 19.25
Arteries of the right pelvis and lower limb.
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