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Umbilical arteries (changes after birth)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The umbilical arteries obliterate after birth. It occurs by two means:

  • functional obliteration:
    • occurs within a few minutes of birth
    • due to:
      • thrombosis in the lumen after ligating the umbilical cord
      • mechanical stimuli at birth
      • reduced oxygen tension through the vessel
  • anatomical obliteration:
    • takes several months
    • due to fibrosis of the lumen by intimal proliferation

The only remnants of the umbilical arteries are fibrous cords in the adult; these are the medial umbilical ligaments which extend in the extra-peritoneal fat of the abdominal wall from the umbilicus to the superior vesical arteries. The latter remain patent.

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