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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-21

Clinical anatomy of the inferior epigastric artery with special relevance to invasive procedures of the anterior abdominal wall

1 Department of Anatomy, All Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Ivan James Prithishkumar
Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9941.181331

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Introduction: Injury to the inferior epigastric artery (IEA) has been reported following lower abdominal wall surgical incisions, abdominal peritoneocentesis and trocar placements at laparoscopic port sites, resulting in the formation of abdominal wall haematomas that may expand considerably due to lack of tissue resistance. The aim of this study was to localise its course in relation to standard anatomic landmarks and suggest safe areas for performance of invasive procedures. Materials and Methods: Sixty IEAs of 30 adult cadavers (male = 19; female = 11) were dissected and the course of the IEA noted in relation to the mid-inguinal point, anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and umbilicus. Results: The mean distance of the IEA from the midline was 4.45 ± 1.42 cm at the level of the mid-inguinal point, 4.10 ± 1.15 cm at the level of ASIS and 4.49 ± 1.15 cm at the level of umbilicus. There was an average of 3.3 branches per IEA with more branches arising from its lateral aspect. The IEA was situated within one-third (32%) of the distance between the midline and the sagittal plane through ASIS at all levels. Conclusion: To avoid injury to IEA, trocars can be safely inserted 5.5 cm [mean + 1 standard deviation (SD)] away from the midline (or) slightly more than one-third of the distance between the midline and a sagittal plane running through ASIS. These findings may be useful not only for laparoscopic procedures but also for image-guided biopsy, abdominal paracentesis, and placement of abdominal drains.


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