Today’s article will give you an overview of the largest artery of the lower limbs, the femoral artery, including how it is structured, its functions, and the conditions it might be affected by.
What is The Femoral Artery?
The femoral artery is a major blood vessel supplying oxygenated blood to the body’s lower limbs. It starts from the lower abdomen near the groin, traces along the demur, and ends at the back knees.
The Anatomy of The Femoral Artery
Anatomically, the femoral artery forms right at the end of the external iliac artery as it passes through the femoral triangle. The femoral triangle is a triangle-shaped region located within the superomedial part of the anterior thighs.
The wall of the femoral artery is comprised of three layers:
- Tunica intima
The femoral artery branches off to ensure balanced blood distribution despite running in a relatively straight line down the legs. These branches enable blood to reach further and deeper into the surrounding muscle groups of the thigh areas.
The common femoral artery is approximately 4 cm in length. Still, the size largely depends on several factors, such as weight, height, sex, and ethnicity.
The Function of The Femoral Artery
The primary function of the femoral artery is to carry oxygen-rich blood to the entire lower limbs and genitals. The femoral artery separates into six smaller arteries to ensure an appropriately-distributed blood flow. Each of these arteries is responsible for providing blood to a specific body part. The six arteries and their roles are as follows:
- Superficial epigastric artery: Supplies the lower body fascia, skin, and lymph nodes with blood.
- Superficial circumflex artery: Delivers blood to some of the lower body fascia, skin, and lymph nodes.
- Superficial external pudendal artery: Supplies blood to the lower abdominal skin, penile, labia skin, and scrotal.
- Deep external pudendal artery: Provides the skin of the perineum and scrotum with blood.
- Descending genicular artery: This artery is responsible for distributing blood to the knees and abductor muscles.
- Profunda femoris artery: The largest artery branch brings blood to the buttocks and thigh areas.
What Conditions Affect The Femoral Artery?
Since the femoral artery is in charge of providing blood to the lower body, the buildup of plaque or fatty deposits within the artery wall may impair arterial blood flow. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that narrows the blood passage, preventing blood from flowing freely.
As a result, leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to keep your femoral artery and the rest of the blood vessels healthy. Having a low-fat and cholesterol diet, getting your body up and moving, reducing alcohol consumption, and not smoking or quitting smoking are a few strategies for preventing femoral artery disease from emerging.
If you have questions about the femoral artery or any conditions discussed here, we can help.
Vascular & Interventional Specialists offers screening, diagnosis, and treatment for a wide range of vascular conditions. We specialize in vascular surgery and interventional radiology – world class procedures right here in your world.
If you’re having trouble with any of these symptoms, you can reach us at (605) 540-1561. We’re here to help.