Topography of the inferior rectal artery: a possible cause of chronic, primary anal fissure

Dis Colon Rectum. 1989 Jan;32(1):43-52. doi: 10.1007/BF02554725.


The authors believed that it might be possible to explain the local frequency of the anal fissure at the posterior commissure by an anatomic relationship, and examined the blood supply of the anus. The inferior rectal artery is demonstrated by postmortem angiography and by manual preparations (N = 41) and histologic study after angiography of the vessels (N = 10). The blood supply at the different sites of the anal canal are demonstrated by a morphometric study (N = 20). The inferior rectal artery presents two variants in the postmortem angiographies, type 1 (85.4 percent) and type 2 (14.6 percent). In type 1, the posterior commissure is less perfused than the other sections of the anal canal. In addition, the blood supply may be more compromised by contusion of the vessels passing vertically through the muscle fibers of the sphincter ani internus muscle during increased sphincter tone. The role of topography in the pathogenesis of the primary anal fissure is illustrated in a model.

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / blood supply*
  • Angiography
  • Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Capillaries / anatomy & histology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth / blood supply
  • Rectal Fistula / etiology
  • Rectal Fistula / pathology*