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Femoral Artery

The femoral artery is a continuation of the external iliac artery (name changes as it passes deep to the inguinal ligament).

The femoral artery is found at the midpoint of the inguinal ligament. The femoral pulse is palpable at this midinguinal point.

NAVEL is a mnemonic for remembering the neurovascular structures that travel deep to the inguinal ligament into the femoral triangle.

N = femoral nerve
A = femoral artery
V = femoral vein
EL = empty space (femoral canal) and lymphatics

The deep femoral artery arises in the femoral triangle. It passes deep to the adductor longus and gives rise to perforating arteries that supply the posterior thigh.

The medial and lateral femoral circumflex arteries are typically branches of the deep femoral artery. The medial branch is particularly important as it is the major blood supply to the head and neck of the femur.

After giving off the deep femoral artery, the femoral artery (sometimes called "superficial femoral" at this point) travels inferiorly in the femoral triangle. At the apex of the femoral triangle it enters the adductor canal.

The adductor canal lies between vastus medialis and the adductor muscles. The femoral artery exits the adductor canal by passing through the adductor hiatus, at which point it changes it name to popliteal artery.