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Inferior gluteal artery

The inferior gluteal artery supplies oxygenated blood to the gluteus muscles (of the buttock) and the hip joint. This artery also goes down into the thigh region of the leg before branching into the ischiadic artery.

An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to all areas of the body. Arteries are tubular in shape and have elastic-like, muscular walls that contract and expand to push the blood through the body.

The inferior gluteal artery is the smaller of the two main artery branches that stem off the internal iliac artery, which supplies blood to the entire gluteal region. This artery is named for its close proximity to the gluteus muscles.

The inferior gluteal artery starts at the pelvis, right below the piriformis, which is a muscle located in the buttock that connects to the hip. It passes the greater sciatic foramen — a large gap in the pelvis on each side of the sacrum — and goes to the superior gemellus, which is a muscle of the buttock located below the piriformis. It then spreads upward and branches to the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle of the buttock) and other muscles. Smaller branches of the inferior gluteal artery pass medially to the skin that covers the coccyx, or tailbone.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Inferior gluteal artery

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