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15. Pelvic arteriogram, AP projection

The abdominal aorta bifurcates into the left and right common iliac arteries anterior to the L4 vertebra. Each of these divides into an external and internal iliac artery at the pelvic brim over the sacroiliac joints. The external iliac artery continues around the brim and enters the lower extremity beneath the inguinal ligament as the femoral artery. The internal iliac artery descends into the pelvic cavity and divides into an anterior and a posterior trunk, but beyond this point the pattern of distribution is quite variable. In general the anterior trunk gives off both parietal branches (to or through the pelvic wall) — obturator, internal pudendal, inferior gluteal arteries — and visceral branches (to the pelvic viscera) — superior and inferior vesical arteries, middle rectal artery, and either vaginal and uterine arteries or ductus deferens artery. The posterior trunk gives off only parietal branches — iliolumbar, lateral sacral, superior gluteal arteries.