Testicular arteries

Last revised by Ammar Ashraf on 10 Mar 2023

The testicular arteries (also known as the spermatic arteries) are the long, small-diameter gonadal arteries in the male that supply the testis alongside the cremasteric artery and the artery to the ductus deferens

Gross anatomy

Origin

As paired structures they arise symmetrically, slightly anteriorly from the aorta below the renal arteries (between L2 and L3).

Course

The arteries pass inferolaterally deep to the parietal peritoneum over psoas major. The right testicular artery lies anterior to the inferior vena cava and posterior to the horizontal part of the duodenum. The left testicular artery lies posterior to the inferior mesenteric vein and the lower part of the descending colon. Each testicular artery crosses in front of the respective genitofemoral nerve and ureter to pass into the deep inguinal ring and enter the spermatic cords. Along with the other contents of the cord, they enter the scrotum via the inguinal canal.

Termination

In the vascular layer of the testis, the testicular artery commonly bifurcates into two major terminal branches, the superior and inferior polar arteries. As these vessels course toward their targets, they give rise to centripetal branches which dive into the interlobular septa to supply the testicular parenchyma 2.

Supply

The terminal branches enter over the tunica albuginea to supply the testes and superior epididymis. Along their extended course, the testicular arteries also supply perirenal fat, the ureteric and iliac lymph nodes, and may supply the cremaster muscle in the inguinal canal.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 2: testes and epididymis (Gray's illustration)
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  • Case 1: testicular mixed germ cell tumor
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