Lumbar arteries

Last revised by Charles Beames on 2 Aug 2021

The lumbar arteries are paired branches of the abdominal aorta arising in the lumbar region.

Gross anatomy


There are most commonly four paired lumbar arteries originating as posterolateral branches of the abdominal aorta on either side, at the level of L1-4.


The paired arteries course posterolaterally along the vertebral bodies, the right-sided arteries posterior to the inferior vena cava (IVC), then pass under the tendinous arches of psoas major and sympathetic trunks. After crossing quadratus lumborum, the arteries enter the space between the transversus abdominis and internal oblique muscles. There are anastomoses with the lower intercostal, subcostal, iliolumbar, deep circumflex iliac, inferior epigastric and contralateral lumbar arteries.


Dorsal branches, which give rise to the spinal branches that enter the vertebral canal.


Dorsal muscles of the back, fascia, ligaments, vertebrae and intervertebral discs.

Variant anatomy

A smaller fifth pair of lumbar arteries may be present, arising from the median sacral artery. The lumbar arteries may arise from a common trunk.

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