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Penile arteries in humans origin - distribution - variations

Les artères du pénis chez l'homme. Origine - Distribution - Variations

Summary

The arterial supply to the penis remains unclear. The frequency of occurrence and functional significance of accessory pudendal arteries remains controversial and it has been suggested that the presence of variations is correlated with atheromatous disease involving internal pudendal arteries. We dissected pelvic and penile arteries in 20 adult fresh male cadavers. The results are expressed according to age and the presence of atherosclerosis. Three patterns of penile arterial supply can be described: type I arising exclusively from internal pudendal arteries (3/20), type II arising from both accessory and internal pudendal arteries (14/20) and type III arising exclusively from accessory pudendal arteries (3/20). This study emphasizes the findings previously reported by early anatomists. No correlation between the presence of accessory pudendal arteries and the extent of atheroclerosis was observed. Accordingly we postulate that these variations are usually congenital. Terminal branches of accessory pudendal arteries mainly supply the corpora cavernosa. As they are located very close to the prostate, the risk of injury is high during radical prostatectomy. The possibility of impotence from such injury after radical prostatectomy needs therefore to be reconsidered.

Résumé

L'origine de la vascularisation artérielle du pénis reste aujourd'hui controversée, la fréquence et le rôle fonctionnel des artères pudenales accessoires étant très diversement appréciés selon les auteurs. La présence de ces artères serait, pour certain, liée à l'occlusion athéromateuse des artères pudendales internes. Nous avons disséqué les artères du pelvis et du pénis de 20 cadavres frais de sexe masculin. Les résultats sont exprimés en fonction de l'âge et de l'importance de la maladie athéromateuse. Nous avons distingué trois types de distributions: le type I dans lequel la vascularisation artérielle du pénis est issue exclusivement des artères pudendales internes (3/20), le type II dans lequel les artères pudendales internes et accessoires donnent des branches au pénis (14/20)et le type III dans lequel la vascularisation du pénis est issue des seules artères pudendales accessoires (3/20). Cette étude confirme et précise les données publiées au début du siècle. Aucune corrélation n'a pu être mise en évidence entre la présence de ces artères et l'importance de la maladie athéromateuse. Ainsi, nous avons pu affirmer que ces artères pudendales accessoires sont des variations congénitales de l'origine des artères du pénis ; elles se destinent préférentiellement aux corps caverneux. Leur trajet au contact de la prostate les rend particulièrement vulnérables au cours de la prostatectomie radicale ; leur lésion semble pouvoir être impliquée dans la survenue de troubles de l'érection par insuffisance artérielle après prostatectomie radicale.

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Droupy, S., Benoît, G., Giuliano, F. et al. Penile arteries in humans origin - distribution - variations. Surg Radiol Anat 19, 161–167 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01627967

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Key words

  • Penis
  • Internal pudendal artery
  • Impotence
  • Prostatectomy