The arteries of the lower limbs serve as blood conduits to the tissues of the lower limbs. They are larger relative to the arteries of the upper limbs.
In this video, we will consider the anatomy of the popliteal artery and its branches, as well as its areas of blood supply.
The popliteal artery (a. poplitea) is a continuation of the femoral artery (a. femoralis).
It arises at the inferior opening of the adductor canal. The artery goes down in the popliteal fossa, and passes to the leg under the tendinous arch of the soleus muscle, where it divides into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries at the level of the inferior border of the popliteus muscle.
The popliteal artery has 6 branches, not counting the 2 terminal ones into which it continues. They are sometimes divided into 2 groups:
The genicular branches provide blood supply to the knee joint and collateral tracts;
Muscle branches supply to the muscles of the leg with blood.
Let’s consider the genicular branches. Five of the 6 arteries belong to this group.
The superior lateral genicular artery (a. superior lateralis genus)
The superior medial genicular artery (a. superior medialis genus)
The middle genicular artery (a. media genus)
The inferior lateral genicular artery (a. inferior lateralis genus)
The inferior medial genicular artery (a. inferior medialis genus)
Let’s consider the mentioned vessels in greater detail
The superior lateral genicular artery (a. superior lateralis genus) arises from the popliteal artery above the lateral condyle of the femur, circumflexing it.
It supplies the vastus and biceps muscles of the thigh.
It anastomoses with other genicular arteries, participating in the formation of the genicular anastomosis that feeds the knee joint.
The superior medial genicular artery (a. superior medialis genus) arises above the lateral condyle of the femur and circumflexes the medial condyle.
It supplies the vastus medialis muscle and the capsule of the knee joint with blood.
The middle genicular artery (a. media genus) arises from the anterior semicircle of the popliteal artery, follows in the anterior direction to the posterior wall of the capsule of the knee joint, cruciate ligaments, and menisci.
The inferior lateral genicular artery (a. inferior lateralis genus) arises slightly distal to the superior lateral genicular artery and circumflexes the lateral condyle of the tibia.
It supplies the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and plantar muscle with blood.
The inferior medial genicular artery (a. inferior medialis genus) arises at the level of the previous artery and circumflexes the medial condyle of the tibia.
It supplies the medial head of the gastrocnemiu muscle with blood.
It participates in the formation of the genicular anastomosis (rete articulare genus).
Let’s move on to the group of muscular branches. There is only one vessel here. To be more precise, this is a certain number of branches, which each person has individually.
The sural arteries (aa. surales) are large vessels arising on both sides of the popliteal artery.
It supplies the gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantans muscles.
The popliteal arteryand its branches
- Superior lateral genicular artery
- a. superior lateralisgenus
- Superior medial genicular artery
- a. superior medialisgenus
- Middle genicular artery
- a. media genus
- Inferior lateral genicularartery
- a. inferior lateralisgenus
- Inferior medial genicularartery
- a. inferior medialisgenus
- Genicular anastomosis
- rete articulare genus
- Sural arteries
- aa. surales