Femoral artery anatomy

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The femoral artery is the main artery and the blood supply to the lower extremities of the body. The artery originates from the iliac artery, which is located in the pelvis. The femoral artery begins in the lower abdomen and runs through the thigh, through which blood flows through the legs. It ends around the back of the knee when the artery becomes the popliteal artery .

Anatomy

The femoral artery emerges from the iliac artery after the transition to the femoral triangle. The femoral triangle contains muscle, tissue with varying amounts of fat (known as superficial fascia), connective tissue (known as deep fascia), and skin. Once the iliac artery passes through the femoral triangle, it becomes the femoral artery.

The femoral vein lies in the midline of the femoral artery and is considered an extension of the popliteal vein. It begins with the rupture of the adductor magnus (inner thigh muscle) and the femur .

The femoral triangle contains the femoral artery, the femoral vein, the femoral nerve (which is also found in the thigh), and the femoral lymph nodes (also known as inguinal lymph nodes), which are located in the groin area.

At the apex of the femoral triangle is the femoral membrane, which is the area that extends from the fascia or abdominal tissue. It surrounds the femoral artery, the femoral vein, and the femoral lymph nodes, but does not reach the femoral nerve. The function of the femur is to ensure that blood can continue to flow through the artery, despite additional stress on the area or certain movements that might otherwise restrict blood flow.

Peter Dazley / Getty Images

Location

The femoral artery is located in the thigh and is located on the surface of the adductor magnus and longus muscle. The location of the femoral vein can vary, but is generally located near the femoral artery (although it may be deeper in the body), as together they are critical for blood circulation through the lower half of the body and back to she. heart.

Branches of the femoral artery.

One of the branches of the femoral nerve, called the saphenous nerve, can also be found near the femoral (lateral) artery. The broad medial femoral muscle, which is part of the quadriceps muscle group, is located on the anterior side of the femoral artery.

The femoral artery branches into an artery called the deep femoral artery, also known as the deep femoral artery or deep femoral artery. This branch runs deeper and closer to the femur and remains in the thigh area, while the femoral artery runs down to the lower legs. The two branches meet in the space between the adductor magnus and the femur, called the adductor tear.

In addition to the deep femoral artery, the femoral artery branches into four other branches within the femoral triangle and another in the adductor canal, the middle third of the thigh, which consists of the upper part of the femoral triangle before the adductor muscle breaks. . The branches of the femoral triangle are:

  • Superficial epigastric artery
  • Superficial circumflex iliac artery
  • Superficial external genital artery
  • Deep external genital artery

Each of these branches of the artery helps carry blood to the surrounding muscle groups and to the skin of the legs and thighs.

Function

The femoral arteries are designed to carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the legs and genitals. After the blood circulates, the femoral vein returns the blood (which now requires oxygen) to the heart to circulate through the lungs and is then pumped back to the body through the iliac artery and eventually the femoral artery and its smaller branches. …

Clinical relevance

The femoral artery, like the main artery in the leg, is an important part of the circulatory system.

Accessible artery

The femoral artery is often used as the catheter access artery. This allows the surgeon to access most of the circulatory system. The arteries are responsible for draining blood from the heart through the body, and the ability to access them can be helpful when performing tests related to the function of the heart, brain, kidneys, and extremities.

Because of this access point, the femoral artery is often used for a coronary angiogram, a test that helps determine which arteries supplying the heart have narrowed, using X-rays to view a map of the blood vessels . This access is also useful during angioplasty ⁠, a procedure that dilates the narrow arteries found on an angiogram.

In a certain medical situation, the doctor may decide to draw blood from an artery rather than a vein. In this case, the femoral artery can serve as a blood sampling point .

Femoral pulse

The femoral artery also provides the pulse of the thigh, which is often used by doctors to determine if there is any circulatory or cardiac disorder in a patient. If the pulse is too weak, additional tests and diagnostics may be recommended .

Femoral artery aneurysm

In some cases, a patient may have a femoral artery aneurysm, where one of the walls of the femoral artery swells, often due to plaque buildup around the artery wall. In these cases, there is a danger of rupture of the aneurysm. This buildup disrupts blood flow through the artery, narrowing it in some areas and expanding in others.

Blockage of the femoral artery can also cause calf pain when walking. For some people, your doctor may recommend a procedure called a femoral-popliteal bypass, which uses part of another blood vessel to bypass a blocked part of the femoral artery .

Frequently asked questions

  • The femoral triangle is a description of the space in the upper part of the inner thigh that contains specific structures, including the femoral artery, the femoral vein, the femoral nerve, and the femoral lymph nodes.

  • The arteries located in the leg include the femoral artery, the popliteal artery, the anterior tibial artery, the peroneal artery, and the posterior tibial artery.

  • The deep femoral artery is also known as the deep femoral artery or deep femoral artery. It is the largest branch of the femoral artery, supplying the thigh and upper leg.

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