The superior gluteal artery is the larger of the two branches of the main gluteal artery, with the second being the inferior branch. This short, trunk-like, branch originates from the posterior (back) portion of the internal iliac (or hypogastric) artery and travels from the pelvis between the first sacral nerve and the lumbar sacral cord in the lower back. It then branches off into other large vessels and serves to supply the upper portion of the gluteus maximus, the main muscle of the buttock.
The superficial division supplies the surface of the gluteus maximus and lies between it and the gluteus medius, another muscle in the buttock. The deep division separates into a superior and an inferior branch, with both lying between the gluteus medius and minimus, both of which are muscles of the buttock.
Gluteal artery aneurysms (bulging areas of vessel) are rare but possible, with only 22 cases noted in medical literature worldwide over the past 30 years.
Also uncommon, injury to the superior gluteal artery is possible and has been noted during surgical iliosacral screw placement.
A breast reconstructive surgical technique called the SGAP flap procedure utilizes tissue serviced by this artery and is often employed following breast cancer treatment.