External iliac artery

The external iliac arteries are two major arteries which bifurcate off the common iliac arteries anterior to the sacroiliac joint of the pelvis. They proceed anterior and inferior along the medial border of the psoas major muscles. They exit the pelvic girdle posterior and inferior to the inguinal ligament about one third laterally from the insertion point of the inguinal ligament on the pubic tubercle at which point they are referred to as the femoral arteries.[1] The external iliac artery is usually the artery used to attach the renal artery to the recipient of a kidney transplant.

External iliac artery
Front of abdomen, showing common iliac artery, the source of the external iliac artery]]
Volume rendered CT scan of abdominal and pelvic blood vessels.
Sourcecommon iliac arteries
Branchesfemoral arteries, inferior epigastric arteries
Veinexternal iliac veins
Latinarteria iliaca externa
Anatomical terminology


The external iliac artery arises from the bifurcation of the common iliac artery. It travels inferiorly, anteriorly, and laterally, making its way to the lower limb:


Inferior epigastric arteryGoes upward to anastomose with superior epigastric artery (a branch of internal thoracic artery).
Deep circumflex iliac arteryGoes laterally, travelling along the iliac crest of the pelvic bone.
Femoral arteryTerminal branch. When the external iliac artery passes posterior to the inguinal ligament, its name changes to femoral artery.

The abdominal aorta divides to form the "common iliac arteries" in the lower abdomen, and these vessels supply blood to the pelvic organs, gluteal region, and legs. Each common iliac artery descends a short distance and divides into an internal and an external branch. The external iliac artery provides the main blood supply to the legs. It passes down along the brim of the pelvis and gives off two large branches - the "inferior epigastric artery" and a "deep circumflex artery." These vessels supply blood to the muscles and skin in the lower abdominal wall. The external iliac artery passes beneath the inguinal ligament in the lower part of the abdomen and becomes the femoral artery.

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See also


  1. Tortora, Gerard J.; Grabowski, Sandra R. (2003). Roesch, Bonnie (ed.). Principles of Anatomy and Physiology: Volume 4 Maintenance and Continuity of the Human Body (Textbook). 4 (10th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 734. ISBN 0-471-22934-2.
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