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Bulbourethral artery

The bulbourethral artery is a short, relatively wide blood vessel found only in males that supplies oxygenated blood to the male reproductive system. One of three branches of the common penile artery, it also supplies the bulbourethral gland (also known as Cowper's gland) by means of an extension branch. 

After branching from the common penile artery near to the base of the penis, the bulbourethral artery supplies blood to both the urethral bulb and the corpus spongiosum of the penis, before rejoining the cavernous artery and distal artery to form a ring of vessels near the glans, or head, of the penis.

Along with the other parts of the penile artery, is the bulbourethral artery is vital for the maintenance of normal erectile function. Any damage or obstruction to this artery should be addressed surgically immediately after diagnosis because of its importance, and the potential complications such as infertility and sexual dysfunction. The bulbourethral artery is particularly important because of its role in supplying blood to the Cowper's gland, which produces mucus that is believed to neutralize any acidic residue from urine that would be harmful to sperm.

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

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