The femoral artery is a large artery of the thigh, a continuation of the external iliac artery. The femoral artery is the main provider of the arterial blood supply to the thigh. It also supplies the superficial tissue of the pelvis and the anterior abdominal wall.
After the external iliac artery passes behind the inguinal ligament, the artery changes its name the femoral artery. The femoral artery travels through the vascular lacuna (medial compartment below the inguinal ligament), reaching the anterior surface of the thigh.
Then it runs in the iliopectineal groove and later in the anterior femoral groove, entering the adductor canal. It comes out of the adductor canal via the adductor hiatus and reaches the popliteal fossa. At this point, the femoral artery continues as the popliteal artery.
The femoral artery gives off superficial and deep branches. The superficial branches are as follows:
- Superficial epigastric artery
- Superficial circumflex iliac artery
- Superficial external pudendal artery
There are three deep branches of the femoral artery:
- Deep femoral artery
- Deep external pudendal artery
- Descending genicular artery
The most prominent deep branch of the femoral artery is the deep femoral artery. It provides blood supply to deep structures of the thigh, including the femur. Major branches of the deep femoral artery are the medial and lateral circumflex femoral arteries. (Learn more about the deep femoral artery and its branches in the next slide!)