Inferior gluteal artery

The inferior gluteal artery is a branch of the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. It originates in the pelvis and supplies the gluteal region and thigh.

  • origin: anterior division of the internal iliac artery
  • location: pelvis, gluteal region, back of thigh
  • supply: buttock and thigh
  • main branches

The inferior gluteal artery originates as a branch of the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. It approaches the greater sciatic foramen by passing backwards through parietal pelvic fascia and between the S1 and S2 nerve roots. It then exits the pelvis through the foramen, below the piriformis muscle and above the superior gemellus. It travels inferiorly, lateral to the sciatic nerve and underneath the gluteus maximus.

  • Muscular branches to  the piriformis, gluteus maximus and obturator internus and the superior hamstrings.
  • The companion artery to the sciatic nerve is a branch which is a reminant of the embryonic axial artery of the limb. It supplies the sciatic nerve. Developmentally this artery is the major supply to the posterior compartment of the thigh, and may sometimes persist as a large vessel.
  • Trochanteric anastomoses: The artery contributes to the trochanteric anastomosis, which perfuses the head of the femur. Other contributing vessels include the superior gluteal artery and the lateral and medial circumflex arteries.
  • Cruciate anastomoses: The inferior gluteal artery provides contribution to the cruciate anastomosis of the upper thigh, along with the lateral and medial circumflex artery, the anastomotic branch of the posterior branch of the obturator artery and the first perforating artery of the profunda femoris.

The artery terminates at the muscles it supplies, and continues to contribute to trochanteric and cruciate anastomoses.

It’s muscular supply includes the piriformis muscle, obturator internus, gluteus maximus and the superior hamstrings. It supplies the head of the femur and upper thigh and has a dedicated branch, which supplies the sciatic nerve.

The inferior gluteal artery and the internal pudendal artery may arise from a common stem from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery.

An inferior gluteal artery perforator flap may occasionally be used in reconstruction of the breast.

The inferior gluteal artery may be injured in trauma, and has on occasion been known to form pseudoaneurysms.

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 40232
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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