Femoral Artery: What is it? Function, Femoral Triangle, Branches and Tributaries Joining the Femoral Artery

The femoral blood vessels are essential conduits for blood that travels between the heart and the lower limb.

The femoral artery carries blood to the lower limb, while the femoral vein carries blood back to the heart.

These structures are common sites for conditions that cause blood vessel narrowing or blockage.

Atherosclerosis causes plaque formation within the artery, and blood clots (thrombus) can affect both the street and the vein, although it is more likely to occur in the vein due to slower blood flow.

The femoral artery enters while the femoral vein exits the thigh below the inguinal ligament. It is pretty shallow in an area known as the femoral triangle.

The pulsation of the femoral artery (femoral pulse) can be felt in the middle of the femoral triangle.

This is a common site for surgeons to enter these vessels for several intravascular diagnostic and surgical procedures.


Femoral triangle


This is a triangular landmark just below the inguinal ligament.

It is made up of the following surrounding structures:

  • The superior inguinal ligament forms the base of the triangle.
  • The lateral border of the adductor longus muscle forms the medial (inner) side of the triangle.
  • Sartorius muscle that forms the lateral (external) side of the triangle.
  • Therefore, the triangle’s apex is formed at the point where the medial border of the sartorius crosses the lateral wall of the adductor longus muscle.


Within the triangle are the following structures from lateral (exterior) to medial (internal):

  • Femoral nerve and its branches.
  • The femoral sheath contains the femoral artery, femoral vein, deep inguinal lymph nodes, and related lymph vessels.

The femoral vein

The femoral vein is the main blood vessel that carries oxygen-deficient blood from the lower limb and back to the heart.

It is a continuation of the popliteal vein, known as the femoral vein near the adductor hiatus.

The femoral vein follows the course of the femoral artery, first extending back and to the side (posterolateral) of the femoral artery when it is behind the knee and then running behind (posterior) the street as it travels through the duct adductor.

It continues up the thigh, medial to the femoral artery within the femoral sheath passing through the femoral triangle.

Above the inguinal ligament, the femoral vein develops into the external iliac vein, joining the common and emptying into the inferior vena cava.

The femoral artery

The femoral artery is the main blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the lower limb.

It is a continuation of the external iliac artery, the most superficial branch of the common iliac artery that arises as a bifurcation of the abdominal aorta.

After the external iliac artery passes behind the inguinal ligament, it is called the femoral artery.

The femoral artery crosses the vascular lagoon and reaches the anterior surface of the thigh.

The femoral artery descends anteromedially (front-inner) in the thigh, into the adductor canal, and ends when it passes through the adductor hiatus (space between the adductor Magnus muscle and the femur) and reaches the popliteal fossa.

From this point on, the femoral artery is known as the popliteal artery and runs through the back of the knee.

Branches of the femoral artery

The deep thigh artery (deep femoral artery) is the largest and main branch of the femoral artery, and components from the femoral artery are about 2 to 5 cm below the inguinal ligament.

The femoral artery emits superficial and deep branches.

There are four superficial branches of the femoral artery, and these are:

  • Superficial epigastric artery.
  • Iliac artery circumflexes superficial.
  • The external pudendal artery is superficial.
  • Inguinal branches.

The femoral artery emits three deep branches, these are:

  • Deep femoral artery.
  • Deep route of the external genitalia.
  • Descending genicular artery.
  • The femoral artery is the leading provider of arterial blood supply to the thigh.
  • The femoral artery also supplies the superficial tissue of the pelvis and the anterior abdominal wall.

Tributaries joining the femoral artery

  • The great saphenous vein joins the femoral vein about 3 cm below the inguinal ligament.
  • The deep thigh vein (deep femoral vein) joins the femoral vein about 8 cm below the inguinal ligament.