It’s the main artery of the lower limb. It’s the continuance of external iliac artery and enters the femoral triangle behind the inguinal ligament at the midinguinal stage. It runs downward and medially successively via the femoral triangle and adductor canal. At the lower end of the adductor canal (i.e., at the junction of middle one third and lower 1-third of the thigh), it leaves the thigh via the adductor hiatus (a tendinous opening in the adductor magnus) to goes into the popliteal fossa where it continues as the popliteal artery.
When the thigh is in a position of little flexion, abduction, and lateral rotation, the upper 2-third of a line drawn from the midinguinal point to the adductor tubercle represents the femoral artery.
In the femoral triangle:
- 3 superficial branches: Superficial epigastric artery, superficial external pudendal artery, and superficial circumflex iliac artery.
- 3 deep branches: Profunda femoris artery, deep external pudendal artery, and muscular branches.
In the adductor canal:
- Muscular branches.
- Descending genicular artery.
The deep external pudendal artery originates just below the superficial external pudendal artery and enters medially deep to the spermatic cord or round ligament of the uterus and provides the scrotum or labium majus.
The descending genicular artery leaves the canal by descending inside the substance of vastus medialis and splits into articular and saphenous branches. The saphenous branch, also named saphenous artery, accompanies the saphenous nerve as it arises via the roof of adductor canal.
Alternative names of femoral artery: Some vascular surgeons, call the first part of femoral artery, proximal to the origin of profunda femoris artery as ‘common femoral artery’ and its continuance distally as ‘superficial femoral artery.’.
Compression, Palpation And Cannulation of Femoral Artery
- The femoral artery can be compressed against the femoral head at the midinguinal point to control the bleeding in the distal part of the limb.
- The pulsations of the femoral artery are felt by the clinicians in the femoral triangle just below the midinguinal stage.
- Since the femoral artery is very superficial in the femoral triangle, it’s the preferable artery for cannulation and injecting dye to do processes like angiography. It’s also the favored vessel for performing the coronary angiography and angioplasty.