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Femoral artery

Artery: Femoral artery
Structures passing behind the inguinal ligament. (Femoral artery labeled at upper right.)
Femoral artery and its major branches - right thigh, anterior view.
Latin arteria femoralis
Gray's subject #157 623
Supplies anterior compartment of thigh
Source external iliac artery
Branches Superficial epigastric artery
Superficial iliac circumflex
Superficial external pudendal
Deep external pudendal
Deep femoral artery
Vein femoral vein
MeSH Femoral+Artery
Dorlands/Elsevier a_61/12154275

The femoral artery is a large artery in the muscles of the thigh.



The femoral artery is a continuation of the external iliac artery, which comes from the abdominal aorta.

The external iliac artery becomes known as the femoral artery after it passes under the inguinal ligament. For a while at this location, (the femoral triangle), it is sometimes referred to as the Aortus Totalus, because it has not yet branched.

It usually gives off a branch known as the profunda femoris artery or the deep artery of the thigh, while continuing down the thigh medial to the femur. (The profunda femoris is even closer to the femur, and is more posterior).

The femoral artery goes through the adductor hiatus (a hole in the tendon of adductor magnus), into the posterior of the knee. Passing between the condyles of the femur, it becomes the popliteal artery of the popliteal fossa.


The femoral artery usually gives off the following branches:

  • superficial epigastric artery
  • Superficial circumflex iliac artery
  • Superficial external pudendal artery
  • Deep external pudendal artery
  • Deep femoral artery
  • Descending genicular artery

Clinical significance

The femoral artery pulse can be palpated at the femoral triangle.edc

Use of the term superficial femoral artery

Some specialist physicians (e.g. radiologists, vascular surgeons) call the femoral artery the superficial femoral artery after the profunda femoris artery branch point (to differentiate the femoral artery segments before and after the branch point). This term, historically, has not been used by anatomists and has fallen out of favour with most physicians because it has led to considerable confusion with its accompanying vein, the femoral vein, which if called superficial femoral vein might incorrectly be assumed to be a superficial vein, as opposed to a deep vein. (See article on femoral vein for more detailed discussion.)

Additional images

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Femoral_artery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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