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The uterine artery is seen bilaterally and is a branch of the anterior division of the internal iliac artery.
It runs medially in the pelvis, within the base of the broad ligament, to the outer surface of the uterus. From lateral to medial it has a descending, transverse and ascending portion. The ascending portion runs alongside the uterus and passes anterior to the ureter.
Branches and supply
- helicine branches (characteristic corkscrew configuration): supplies uterus
- vaginal branch (anastomoses with vaginal artery): supplies vagina
- ovarian branch (anastomoses with ovarian artery): supplies ovaries
- tubal branch: supplies fallopian tubes
With large uterine fibroids, the helicine branches of the uterine artery are stretched and lose their corkscrew appearance (see image).
Uterine artery embolization is a common endovascular procedure used to treat a variety of conditions, including postpartum hemorrhage and fibroids. Due to the rich collateral supply of the uterus, uterine necrosis from uterine artery embolization is rare.