The profunda femoris artery (a. profunda femoris; deep femoral artery) is a large vessel arising from the lateral and back part of the femoral artery, from 2 to 5 cm. below the inguinal ligament. At first it lies lateral to the femoral artery; it then runs behind it and the femoral vein to the medial side of the femur, and, passing downward behind the Adductor longus, ends at the lower third of the thigh in a small branch, which pierces the Adductor magnus, and is distributed on the back of the thigh to the hamstring muscles. The terminal part of the profunda is sometimes named the fourth perforating artery.
Relations.—Behind it, from above downward, are the Iliacus, Pectineus, Adductor brevis, and Adductor magnus. In front it is separated from the femoral artery by the femoral and profunda veins above and by the Adductor longus below. Laterally, the origin of the Vastus medialis intervenes between it and the femur.
Peculiarities.—This vessel sometimes arises from the medial side, and, more rarely, from the back of the femoral artery; but a more important peculiarity, from a surgical point of view, is that relating to the height at which the vessel arises. In three-fourths of a large number of cases it arose from 2.25 to 5 cm. below the inguinal ligament; in a few cases the distance was less than 2.25 cm.; more rarely, opposite the ligament; and in one case above the inguinal ligament, from the external iliac. Occasionally the distance between the origin of the vessel and the inguinal ligament exceeds 5 cm.
Branches.—The profunda gives off the following branches:
Lateral Femoral Circumflex
Meidal Femoral Circumflex