It’s the largest branch of the femoral artery and is the main source of blood supply to the muscles of all the 3 compartments of the thigh. It appears from the lateral side of the femoral artery in the femoral triangle about 4 cm below the inguinal ligament, behind the femoral vessels, providing off medial and lateral circumflex arteries. It then enters posteriorly between pectineus and adductor longus subsequently descends close to femur successively between adductor longus and adductor brevis, between adductor longus and adductor magnus. Here it produces first 3 perforating arteries. Its terminal part pierces the adductor magnus as the fourth perforating artery to get to the rear of the leg.


The branches of profunda femoris artery are summarized as follows:

  • Muscular branches.
  • Medial circumflex femoral artery.
  • Lateral circumflex femoral artery.
  • 4 perforating arteries.

1. The muscular branches as the particular name suggests, supply blood to the muscles.

2. The medial circumflex femoral artery leaves the femoral triangle by passing posteriorly, between the pectineus and the psoas major muscles. Afterward it enters successively between the obturator externus and adductor brevis and between thequadratus femoris and upper border of the adductor magnus. Here is produces transverse and ascending branches. The transverse branch takes part in the formation of cruciate anastomosis. The ascending branch enters to the trochanteric fossa and takes part in the formation of trochanteric anastomosis.

The acetabular branch of the medial circumflex femoral artery originates before the terminal branches and enters the acetabulum via acetabular notch deep to transverse acetabular ligament.

The posterior retinacular branches of medial circumflex femoral artery go through capsule of hip joint to provide the head and neck of the femur.

The medial circumflex femoral artery is particularly essential as it provides the majority of the blood to the head and neck of femur by its posterior retinacular branches.

3. The lateral circumflex femoral artery is the largest branch of the profunda femoris artery. It runs laterally between the anterior and posterior sections of the femoral nerve and breaks up into ascending, transverse, and descending branches. The ascending and transverse branches take part in the cruciate anastomosis on the back of the thigh just below the greater trochanter. The descending branch runs down along the anterior border of the vastus lateralis and takes part in the anastomosis around the knee.

The perforating arteries are 4 in number. They’re numbered from above downward as first, second, third and fourth; the fourth 1 being the continuation of the profunda femoris artery.

Clinical Significance

Clinical importance of profunda femoris artery: Theprofunda femoris artery is of great clinical significance because it’s deeply located and is located in close proximity to the femoral shaft; thus, it’s prone to injury in fracture of femoral shaft. The artery is also liable to injury during surgical procedure of mending metallic screws in the femur by an orthopedic surgeon.