3.3.16 Blood vessels of the anterior abdominal wall



Next we’ll look briefly at the main blood vessels of the anterior abdominal wall, the superior epigastric and inferior epigastric. We’ve seen that the inferior epigastric artery arises from the external iliac. The superior epigastric artery is the continuation of the internal thoracic. We saw it in the last section.

In this dissection the peritoneum and fascia on the inside of the lower part of the anterior abdominal wall have been removed. Here are the external iliac vessels, here are the inferior epigastric artery and vein. They pass upward and medially, and run up the back of the rectus abdominis muscle. They enter the rectus sheath by passing in front of the arcuate line.

The superior epigastric vessels also lie behind the rectus abdominis. To see them, we’ve removed the upper part of the posterior rectus sheath. Here’s the superior epigastric artery, emerging from behind the costal margin, and passing down onto the back of the rectus. Its branches anastomose with those of the inferior epigastric within the rectus muscle.

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