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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Lower Limb: Femoral Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Lower Limb

Femoral Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

According to Poynter, it was Hochstetter (1890) who demonstrated that the primary artery of the thigh, in mammals, was the artery (ischiadic artery) accompanying the ischiadic (sciatic) nerve, and that the femoral artery later took on that function. Leboucq (1893) observed and described the ischiadic artery in the human embryo and DeVriese (1902) gave the first systematic account of the of the development of lower limb arteries in the human embryo. In cases of persistence of the embryonal axial artery (ischiadic (sciatic) artery) its representative, the inferior gluteal artery, continues downward to supply the leg and foot , and the femoral artery ends at the knee.

The femoral artery may arise from the inferior gluteal or internal iliac, leave the pelvis, and traverse the back of the thigh with the sciatic nerve to the popliteal space. The external iliac, under these circumstances, ends in the deep (profunda) femoral or lateral circumflex, or some other branch of the femoral.

A doubling of the femoral artery may occur below the origin of the deep femoral; the doubled vessel may reunite in the distal thigh.

The femoral vein may remain on the medial side of the artery throughout its course in the thigh, or it may be doubled, especially in the adductor canal. There is often a plexiform arrangement around the artery in this situation.

The femoral may give rise to the inferior epigastric, deep circumflex iliac, lateral femoral circumflex, medial femoral circumflex, iliolumbar, accessory femoral circumflex (medial and lateral), descending branch of the lateral femoral circumflex, and fourth or lowest perforating artery (great femoral nutrient or arteria femoris magna). The fourth perforating artery sometimes splits distally into an anterior and posterior tibial; it may also provide the medial superior articular artery to the knee joint, the dorsal artery of the penis, the obturator, and/or a great saphenous artery. The great saphenous artery courses between adductor magnus and vastus medialis, pierces the crural fascia below the knee, and runs with the saphenous vein to the medial malleolus or ends at the knee.

Image 81, Image 128A, Image 128B, Image 361, Image 362, Image 363, Image 464, Image 465, Image 466, Image 468

Deep (Profunda):

Image 360X, See Image 362, See Image 363, See Image 365


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Bell, C. (1836) A case of popliteal aneurism in which the femoral artery was found to be divided into two trunks, which again became reunited where the vessel passes through the tendon of the triceps muscle. London Medical and Physical Journal 56:134-138.

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Broca, -. (1849) Cinq anomalies artérielles sur le même subject. Anomalies rare des artères de l'avant--bras. Reflexions sur les anomalies artérielles du member thoracique (popliteal, renales, deux arteres humérals, femoral, tibio-peronier tronc). Bulletins et Mem. de la Société Anatomique de Paris XXIV(2):49-59.

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de Vilhena, H. (1918) Modos não classicos de ramificação da artéria Femural. Arquivo de anatomia e antropologia 4:153-156.

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Houston, J. (1827) Account of an unusual variety in the femoral artery. Dublin Hospital Reports, and Communications in Medicine and Surgery 4:313-319.

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Mansberger, A.R. (1950) Saphenofemoral junction anomalies. Surg., Gynecol. Obstet. 91:533-536.

Miaskiewicz, C., Patyk, K. and A. Wisniewski. (1970) Variation of the course of the great saphenous vein on the leg. Folia Morphol., Warsaw 29:374-380.

Musgrove, J. (1892) Bifurcation of the femoral artery with subsequent reunion. J. Anat. Physiol. 26:239-244.

Musgrove, J. (1892) Additional note on bifurcation of the femoral artery. J. Anat. Physiol. 26:555-556.

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Senior, H.D. (1919) The development of the arteries of the lower extremity. Am. J. Anat. 25:55-95.

Senior, H.F. (1924) The description of the larger direct or indirect muscular branches of the human femoral artery: A morphological study. Am. J. Anat. 33:243-266.

Thompson, H. (1847) Case of irregularity of the femoral artery. The Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science 4:251-253.

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de Vilhena, H. (1918) Modos não classicos de ramificação da arteria fémoral. Arquivo de Anat. e Antrop. 4:153-eoa.

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Zaluska, S. and Z. Urbanowicz (1970) Variation of origin of the branches of the femoral artery in man and macaca. Folia Morphol., Warsaw.

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