Anatomical Study and Clinical Importance of the Inferior Epigastric Artery

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Amal Yousif Ahmed Alhaj Mustafa & Wardah Abdullah Alasmari


The inferior epigastric artery (IEA) is a major blood vessel that supplies the anterior abdominal wall. The aim of the current study was to provide clinicians, surgeons, and obstetricians with sufficient anatomical data on the inferior epigastric artery, such as its origin and branching pattern. The study included 20 embalmed cadavers, these cadavers were dissected, and the inferior epigastric artery and vena comitans/venae comitantes were identified and traced downwards to the external iliac vessels. The origins, caliber, course and pedicle length of both the artery and the vein(s) were studied. The inferior epigastric artery arose independently from the distal external iliac artery deep to the inguinal ligament in 19 (95 %) cadavers. The artery entered the rectus abdominis muscle at its middle third in 13 (65 %) cases and at its lower third in the remaining specimens. In this study, we found that the artery divided into two branches in 18 (90 %) of the cases; in the remaining two cases, it continued as one trunk. The average pedicle length was 7.2 cm. The mean caliber of the IEA was 3.7 mm. In 18 (90 %) dissections, the venous drainage consisted of a pair of venae comitantes that united to form a common vessel at their draining point on the external iliac vein. The average diameter was 3.9 mm. The current study focuses on the anatomical features of the inferior epigastric artery to increase the success rate of abdominal and pelvic operations in clinical practice.

KEY WORDS: Inferior epigastric artery; External iliac artery; Rectus abdominis muscle; Inguinal ligament.

How to cite this article

MUSTAFA, A. Y. A. A. & ALASMARI, W. A. Anatomical study and clinical importance of the inferior epigastric artery. Int. J. Morphol., 39(3):688-691, 2021.