Common femoral artery

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The common femoral artery (CFA) is the continuation of the external iliac artery (EIA) at the level of the inguinal ligament. As well as supplying oxygenated blood to the leg, it gives off smaller branches to the anterior abdominal wall and superficial pelvis. 


Gross anatomy

The CFA emerges underneath the inguinal ligament medial to the midpoint of the inguinal ligament and medial to the deep inguinal ring, halfway between the anterior superior iliac spine and symphysis pubis. The femoral vein lies medially.

The common femoral artery runs down the front and medial side of the thigh with the first 4 cm of the vessel enclosed within the femoral sheath together with the femoral vein. Lateral but outside the sheath is the femoral nerve.

The common femoral artery terminates within the femoral triangle by bifurcating into its terminal branches: the superficial femoral artery and the profunda femoris artery. The superficial femoral artery ends as it passes through the adductor hiatus in adductor magnus to become the popliteal artery.

  • anterior: skin, superficial fascia, superficial iliac circumflex vein, superficial layer of fascia lata, anterior part of femoral sheath
  • posterior: posterior part of femoral sheath, pectineal fascia, psoas major tendon, capsule of hip joint, adductor longus, femoral vein (lower part of artery in femoral triangle)
  • lateral: femoral nerve
  • medial: femoral vein (upper part of artery)
Anatomy: Lower limb

Anatomy: Lower limb

Article information

rID: 24867
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Tag: artery
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Femoral arteries (FAs)
  • Common femoral arteries (CFAs)
  • Femoral artery (FA)
  • CFA
  • Common femoral artery (CFA)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: femoral triangle (diagram)
    Drag here to reorder.
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