European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 22 - Number 1
Eur J Anat, 22 (1): 67-73 (2018)

Clinical relevance of the arterial supply to the proximal rectum

Nerissa Naidoo1, Lelika Lazarus2, Bhugwan Singh3, Kapil S. Satyapal2

1College of Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai Healthcare City, United Arab Emirates, 2Department of Clinical Anatomy, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban, South Africa, 3Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

ABSTRACT Although the rectum is considered to be an organ rich in vascularity, the exact role of the middle rectal artery appears to be an area of much debate. Despite its principal supply from the superior rectal artery, there is a lack of information regarding the arterial supply to the fractionized proximal rectal regions. The approach to operative procedures in the case of recto-sigmoid carcinoma, intestinal embolization and haemorrhoidal disease are considered to be largely dependent on the intramural rectal anastomosis. Since the subsequent outcome of surgical intervention lies in the preservation of the respective rectal arteries, this study aimed to identify the proximal rectal arterial supply and the bilateral presence and/or variation of the middle rectal artery in ten fetal and ten adult cadaveric specimens (n=40). While the superior rectal artery presented as the principal arterial source to the proximal rectum, the respective regions of the proximal rectum were also found to be supplied by the median sacral and middle rectal arteries. The inconsistent morphological inconstant nature of the middle rectal artery confirmed that it does not represent the principal arterial source of the proximal rectum; however it was postulated that the middle rectal artery is regularly present in female individuals. As the regional arterial supply to the proximal rectum was investigated in accordance with appropriate anatomical landmarks, it may also be used to demarcate the specific regions of the proximal rectum. Furthermore, this may assist to preserve the rectal arterial supply during the Hartmann’s Procedure.

Keywords: Proximal rectum – Arterial supply – Middle rectal artery – Superior rectal artery

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)