Anatomical description of the umbilical arteries and impact of their ligation on pelvic and perineal vascular supply after cystectomy in women
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In radical cystectomy, the surgeon generally ligates the umbilical artery at its origin. This artery may give rise to several arteries that supply the sexual organs. Our aim was to evaluate pelvic and perineal devascularisation in women after total cystectomy.
Patients and methods
We carried out a prospective anatomical and radiological study. We performed bilateral pelvic dissections of fresh adult female cadavers to identify the dividing branches of the umbilical artery. In parallel, we examined and compared the pre- and postoperative imaging investigations [magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) angiography] in patients undergoing cystectomy for benign disease to quantify the loss of pelvic vascularisation on the postoperative images by identifying the occluded arteries.
The anatomical study together with the radiological study visualised 35 umbilical arteries (n = 70) with their branching patterns and collateral arteries. The uterine artery originated from the umbilical artery in more than 75% of cases (n = 54) of the internal pudendal artery in 34% (n = 24) and the vaginal artery in 43% (n = 30). The postoperative MRI angiograms showed pelvic devascularisation in four patients. Devascularisation was dependent on the level of surgical ligation. In the four patients with loss of pelvic vascular supply, the umbilical artery had been ligated at its origin.
The umbilical artery gives rise to various branches that supply the pelvis and perineum. If the surgeon ligates the umbilical artery at its origin during total cystectomy, there is a significant risk of pelvic and perineal devascularisation.
KeywordsCystectomy Sexual dysfunction Umbilical artery Urinary bladder Women
We would like to thank Dr Lucie Even for help in collecting the data.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare.
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