Common iliac artery

The common iliac arteries are two large arteries that originate from the aortic bifurcation at the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra. They end in front of the sacroiliac joint, one on either side, and each bifurcates into the external and internal iliac arteries.

Common iliac artery
Front of abdomen, showing surface markings for arteries and inguinal canal.
Volume rendered CT scan of abdominal and pelvic blood vessels.
Sourceabdominal aorta
Branchesexternal iliac
internal iliac
Veincommon iliac veins
Latinarteria iliaca communis
Anatomical terminology

They are about 4 cm long in adults and more than a centimeter in diameter. The arteries run inferolaterally, along the medial border of the psoas muscles to their bifurcation at the pelvic brim, in front of the sacroiliac joints.

The common iliac artery, and all of its branches, exist as paired structures (that is to say, there is one on the left side and one on the right).

The distribution of the common iliac artery is basically the pelvis and lower limb (as the femoral artery) on the corresponding side.


Both common iliac arteries are accompanied along their course by the two common iliac veins which lie posteriorly and to the right. Their terminal bifurcation is crossed anteriorly by the ureters. This is significant as the bifurcation of the common iliac artery is the second point of ureteric constriction.


Dilatation of the common iliac artery can be graded into the following categories:[1]

NormalDiameter ≤12 mm
EctasiaDiameter 12 to 18 mm
AneurysmDiameter ≥18 mm

Additional images


  1. Melissa L Kirkwood. "Iliac artery aneurysm". Retrieved February 23, 2018. Last updated: Mar 27, 2017.

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