Femoral vein

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Femoral vein
Blausen 0609 LegVeins.png
including femoral vein.
Femoral triangle.gif
Drawing of the left femoral triangle - shows superior portion of the femoral vein.
Source popliteal, profunda femoris, great saphenous
Drains to external iliac vein
Artery femoral artery
Latin vena femoralis
MeSH D005268
TA A12.3.11.023
FMA 21185
Anatomical terminology

In the human body, the femoral vein is a blood vessel that accompanies the femoral artery in the femoral sheath. It begins at the adductor canal (also known as Hunter's canal) and is a continuation of the popliteal vein. It ends at the inferior margin of the inguinal ligament, where it becomes the external iliac vein.


Superficial veins draining into the femoral vein.

Several large veins drain into the femoral vein:

Clinical significance[edit]

Occlusion of the femoral vein can be life-threatening due to its size.[1] The femoral vein is often used to place central venous lines.

The practice of delivering recreational drugs intravenously using the femoral vein is relatively common amongst injecting drug users (IDUs).[2]

Use of the term superficial femoral vein[edit]

The term superficial femoral vein is recognized as a legitimate anatomic term.[3]

However, some specialist physicians (e.g. radiologists, and orthopaedic/vascular surgeons) use the term superficial femoral vein for the distal part of the femoral vein to:

  1. differentiate the femoral vein segments before and after the deep vein of the thigh (profunda femoris vein) joins with it, and
  2. differentiate the distal segment of the femoral vein from the deep vein of the thigh, which is paired with the deep artery of the thigh.

Usage of this term is discouraged by many physicians because it leads to confusion among general medical practitioners.[1]

The femoral vein is considered a deep vein, unlike the adjective superficial suggests and has led some physicians to falsely conclude it is a superficial vein, which has resulted in patients (with deep vein thrombosis) being denied efficacious anticoagulant or thrombolytic therapy.[3]

Additional images[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bundens WP, Bergan JJ, Halasz NA, Murray J, Drehobl M. The superficial femoral vein. A potentially lethal misnomer. JAMA. 1995 Oct 25;274(16):1296-8. PMID 7563535.
  2. ^ Maliphant J, Scott J. Use of the femoral vein ('groin injecting') by a sample of needle exchange clients in Bristol, UK. Harm Reduction Journal 2005, 2:6. Free Full Text.
  3. ^ a b Hammond I. The superficial femoral vein. Radiology. 2003 Nov;229(2):604; discussion 604-6. PMID 14595157. Full Text.

External links[edit]