External iliac arteries are two major arteries (one on each side of the body). Each arises from the bifurcation of common iliac artery of the respective side. The artery forms the major blood supply of the lower limb in the form of femoral artery.
The artery originates from the bifurcation of the common iliac artery in front of the sacroiliac joint of the pelvis.
External iliac artery proceeds anterior and inferior to the medial border of the psoas major muscle, following the pelvic brim. The artery then exits the pelvic girdle posterior to the inguinal ligament about one third laterally from the pubic tubercle.
Beneath the inguinal ligament, the artery continues into the lower limb as femoral artery.
The artery gives the following important branches.
- Inferior epigastric artery:
This branch arises just above the inguinal ligament. It passes upward and medially along the medial margin of the deep inguinal ring. It then enters the rectus sheath behind the rectus abdominis muscle.
- Deep circumflex iliac artery:
It arises close to the inferior epigastric artery. It ascends laterally to the anterior superior iliac spine and iliac crest, and supplies the muscle of the anterior abdominal wall.
- Femoral Artery:
It is the continuation of the external iliac artery into the lower limb. It forms the major blood supply of the lower limb of the body.