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What is the main artery of the lower limb?

Femoral Artery


What is the femoral artery a continuation of?

The exernal iliac artery


When does the external iliac artery become the femoral artery?

When it crosses under the inguinal ligament and enters the femoral triangle



What artery arises in the femoral triangle?

Where does it arise from?

In what direction does it travel?

The profunda femoris artery

Arises Pasterolaterally

Travels posteriorly and distally


How many branches does the profunda femoris artery give off?

Name them


Perforating Branches

Lateral Femoral Circumflex Artery

Medial Femoral Circumflex Artery


How many arteries make up the Perforating Branches?

What muscle does they perforate?

What muscles does it contribute arterial supply to?

Consists of 3-4

Perforates the Adductor Magnus

Muscles of the Medial and Posterior Thigh


Describe the course of the Lateral Femoral Circumflex Artery

What muscles does it supply?

Wraps around the anterior, lateral side of the femur

Supplies muscles in the lateral side of the thigh


Describe the course of the Medial Femoral Circumflex Artery

What does it supply?

In what time of injury can it be damaged and what is a consequence of this?

Wraps around the posterior side of the femur

Supplies head and neck of the femur

Fracture of the Femoral Neck

Avascular necrosis of the femur head


What is the course of the femoral artery after it exits the femoral triangle?

What does it supply as it descends?

Travels down the anterior surface of the thigh via a tunnel known as the adductor canal

Supplies the anterior thigh muscles


Where does the adductor canal end?

Where does the femoral artery continue after this?

What is the femoral artery known as after it exits the adductor canal?

At an opening in the adductor magnus called the adductor hiatus

Enters posterior compartment of the thigh, proximal to the knee

Popliteal Artery


Where can the Femoral Pulse be felt?

Where does it cross?

What does it mean if it can be felt?

Just inferior to where the femoral artery crosses the inguinal ligament

crosses exactly midway between the pubis symphysis and anteior superior iliac spine

Means blood is reaching lower extremity


Why is the femoral artery easy to access?

Runs superficially


What procedure can be performed via the femoral artery?

Describe the procedure

Coronary Angiography

"One such procedure is coronary angiography. Here, the femoral artery is catheterised with a long, thin tube. This tube is navigated up the external iliac artery, common iliac artery, aorta, and into the coronary vessels. A radioactive dye is then ejected into the coronary vessels, and any wall thickening or blockages can be visualised via x-ray imaging"


The femoral artery can be catherised to draw blood for what?

Arterial blood gases


Where does the obturator artery arise from?

Where does it descend?

Arises from internal iliac artery in the pelvic region

Descends via the obturator canal to enter the medial thigh



Name the two branches of the obturaor artery

Where does each branch supply?

Anterior Branch - Supplies the pectineus, obturator externus, adductor muscles and gracilis

Posterior Branch Supplies some of the deep gluteal muscles


What is the gluteal region largely supplied by?

Where do they arise from and how do they enter the gluteal region?

The superior and inferior gluteal arteries

Also arise from the internal iliac artery

Enter via the greater sciatic foramen


Where does the superior gluteal artery leave the foramen?

What other area does the inferior gluteal artery supply?

Above the pisiform muscle

Vasculature of the posterior thigh


What artery descends down the posterior thigh?

What does it supply?


The popliteal artery

The Knee Joint


Describe the course of the popliteal artery

At what point does the popliteal artery terminate and what does it divide into?

Descends down the posterior thigh, giving off genicular branches that supply the knee joint. It moves through the popliteal fossa, exiting sandwiched between the gastrocnemius and popliteus muscles

At the lower border of the popliteus

Divides into anterior and posterior tibial arteries



In what direction does the posterior tibial artery continue?

What does it accompany into the sole of the foot with and what structure does it travel through?

Continues inferiorly along the surface of the deep muscles

Accompanies the tibial nerve in entering the sole of the foot via the tarsal tunnel


What other artery arises from the posterior tibial artery during its descent?

Where does this artery travel and what does it supply?

Moves laterally, penetrating the lateral compartment of the leg

Supplies muscles in the lateral compartment and adjacent muscles in the posterior compartment


In what direction does the anterior tibial artery travel, and through what?

What does it become in the foot?

Passes anteriorly between the tibia and fibula through a gap in the interosseous membrane and the moves inferiorly down the leg

Dorsalis Pedis Artery


What is an aneurysm?

A dilation of an artery which is greater than 50% of the normal diameter


In a popliteal artery aneurysm, what structures can be affected and why?

Other contents of the popliteal fossa because the popliteal fascial layer (roof of the popliteal fossa) is tough and non extensible


What stucture is particularly suscetible to compression from the popliteal artery?

How would this present?

Tibeal Nerve

Leg anethesia or loss of leg motor function


How would a popliteal artery aneurysm be detected?

An obvious palpable pulsation in the  popliteal fossa with abnormal arterial sounds


Arterial supply in the foot is delivered by what two arteries?

Dorsalis Pedis (a continuation of the anterior tibial artery)

Posterior Tibial Artery


Describe the course of the Dorsalis Pedis

Passes over the dorsal aspect of the tarsal bones then moves inferiorly towards the sole of the foot

Then anastamoses with the lateral plantar artery to form the deep plantar arch


What does the dorsalis pedis artery supply?

Tarsal bones and dorsal aspect of the metatarsals

Via the deep plantar arch it also contributes to the supply of the toes