The pudic or internal pudic artery (pudica interna; pudica communis,— Winslow ; pudenda (simpliciter),— Haller), a branch of considerable size (smaller in the female than in the male), is distributed to the external generative organs. The following description of this artery has reference to its arrangement in the male;— its distribution in the female will be noticed separately.
The pudic artery arises from the anterior division of the internal iliac, sometimes by a trunk common to it and the sciatic artery. At first it inclines downwards and outwards to reach the great sacro-sciatic foramen, through which it escapes from the pelvis with the sciatic artery. Soon, however, it re-enters that cavity through the small sciatic foramen, turning round the spine of the ischium, which separates these two foramina one from the other. In this way the artery reaches the inner side of the tuber of the ischium, from which point it runs forwards and upwards along the rami of the ischium and pubes, (the pubic arch,) and divides into its two ultimate branches.
In this long course, it will be noticed, that the artery describes a large curve along the lower part of the pelvis, the concavity of which is directed upwards ; whence, doubtless, the name once applied to it, pudenda circumjlexa.
In the first part of its course, whilst within the pelvis, the pudic artery lies to the outer side of the rectum, and in front of the pyriformis muscle and the sacral nerves. The very short part of the vessel which is outside the pelvis, is immediately in contact with the spine of the ischium near its point, close to the attachment of the small sacro-sciatic ligament, and is deeply placed beneath the great gluteal muscle. After re-entering the pelvic cavity, the pudic artery lies to the inner side of the internal obturator muscle, lodged with its nerve in a fibrous canal formed in the obturator fascia. Here it lies along the outer side of the ischio-rectal fossa, and is in some degree protected by the falciform process of the great sacro-sciatic ligament.
Distant at first from the lower margin of the tuberosity of the ischium an inch or an inch and a half, and very deeply placed, the artery in curving forwards towards the perinseum, gains the inner margin of the ramus of the ischium, and at the same time gradually approaches nearer to the surface. Then, piercing the posterior layer of the deep perinaeal fascia, it runs along the inner margin of the ramus of the pubes and close to the crus penis towards the pubic arch, at the same time converging towards its fellow of the opposite side. Finally, after perforating the superficial layer of the deep perineal fascia, the pudic artery divides into its two ultimate branches, viz., the dorsal artery of the penis, and the artery of the corpus cavernosum.
The artery is accompanied by the pudic vein and internal pudic nerve.