What is Femoral Artery?
The Femoral Artery is a term used for a group of few arteries which passes fairly close to the outer surface of the thighs. It begins at the inguinal ligament, called the Femoral Head, and ends just above the knee at p place called the Adductor canal or the hunter’s canal. It divides into smaller branches so as to supply blood to the muscles and to the tissues which lie in the superficial region of the thigh.
Femoral Artery Location
This artery begins immediately behind the inguinal ligament. This place is known as the femoral head. From here, it passes midway between the anterior spine of the ilium and symphysis pubis and continues down the medial and front side of the thigh. At the juncture, where the middle and the lower third of the thigh meet, this artery ends, and here it passes through an opening in the Adductor magnus, and becomes the popliteal artery. The upper third of the artery is contained in the femoral triangle, which is also known as the Scarpa’s triangle, and its middle third is contained in the Hunter’s canal, or the Adductors canal, as it is commonly called.
Femoral Artery Anatomy
The external iliac artery supplies blood to the femoral artery. This artery lies within the femoral triangle, behind the inguinal ligament, usually near the head of the femur bone. This region is known as the inguinal-femoral area. The inguinal ligament borders the trianglre on the superior end, the addustor longus forms the medial border and the lateral border is by the sartorious muscle. The top part of the triangle is made up of skin, fascia lata, cribiform fascia and the subcutaneous tissue. The lower part is composed of iliopsoas muscles, underlying adductor longus and the adductor brevis.
Common Femoral Artery
The proximal section of the femoral artery is known as the Common femoral artery (CFA). It is used as a catheter access artery, as it can be easily felt from the skin. The common femoral artery often comes to use, when the blood pressure is too low, so as to draw arterial blood, as the low blood pressure does not allow the arterial or radial arteries to be located.
This part of the artery is often susceptible to the Peripheral arterial disease. Sometimes the common femoral artery may be blocked through the atherosclerosis. At this stage, we may need to access the Common femoral artery from the opposite side through a Percutaneous intervention. A surgical cut down, called the Endarcetectomy may also help.
Superficial Femoral Artery
The femoral artery leaves the femoral triangle through an apex beneath the sartorious muscle. Here it divides itself into the deep and superficial artery .the superficial branch is called the superficial femoral artery (SFA). This superficial femoral artery connects to the popliteal artery at the opening of the Adductor magnus or the Hunter’s canal at the end of the femur bone.
Profunda Femoral Artery
The profunda femoral artery, also known as the Deep femoral artery, is the posterior branch of the femoral artery. It is the largest branch of the femoral artery in the entire femoral triangle. It arises on the lateral side of the femoral artery, about 3 to 5 cm below the inguinal canal. From here, it travels down the thigh, to the femur, passing between the pectineus and the adductor brevis, and then passes posteriorly behind the adductor longus.
The profunda femoral artery branches into the following:
- Lateral circumflex artery
- Medial circumflex femoral artery
- Perforating arteries
- Terminal branches
Femoral Artery Sheath
The femoral sheath is formed by a downward prolongation, behind the inguinal ligament, transversalis fascia and the iliac fascia. The sheath is in the form of a short tunnel and it is directed upwards. It is also called the crural sheath. This sheath is strengthened by a band called the deep crural arch.
Femoral Artery Branches
Picture 1 – Femoral Artery and Its Major Branches
Source – wikipedia
The femoral artery has the following branches:
- Superficial Epigastric – This artery arises from the front of the femoral artery, about a cm below the inguinal canal. From here, it travels through the femoral sheath and the fabscia cribrosa, turning upward in front of the inginual ligament, and then ascends between the layers of the superficial fascisa. Its branches are distributed all over the subinguinal lymph glands.
- Superficial Iliac Circumflex Artery – This is the smallest of the cutaneous branches. It arises close to the superficial epigastric artery and runs parallel with the inguinal ligament.
- Superficial External Pudendal Artery – arises medially from the femoral artery, and courses medialwards, across the spermatic cord in males, or the round ligament in females. It is distributed to the integument in the lower part of the abdomen – the penis and scrotum in males and the labia majora in females.
- Deep External Pudendal Artery – this artery is more deeply placed than the superficial pudendal artery. It is covered by the fascia lata, pierces in the middle of the thigh, and is distributed to the intugement of the scrotum and perineum in males, amd to the labius majus in females.
- Muscular Branches – these branches are supplied by the femoral artery t the Vastus medialis, Sartorius and Adductores.
- Highest Genicular
Written by Simran Goyal
on April 25th, 2011. The article was last updated on July 19th, 2011