Popliteal fossa

Clinical Anatomy

Swellings in the popliteal fossa

This maybe caused by:

  • Inflamed (enlarged) lymph nodes which signify infection or malignancy in the area of drainage of the nodes.
  • Aneurysms of popliteal artery or vein.
  • Lymphomas
  • Abscess
  • Neuromas
  • Popliteus muscle tumor
  • Baker's cyst protrusion of synovium through the knee joint capsule.
  • Septic arthritis of the knee joint

For surgical management of these conditions, the topographic anatomy of the contents must be minded.

The popliteal artery

Injury may follow supracondylar femoral fracture   or posterior dislocation of the knee

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome

  • Caused by compression of popliteal artery between gastrocnemi
  • Presents with features of leg and foot ischaemia usually intermittent.

Popliteal artery aneurysms

  • Can rupture or thromboembolise and cause limb loss

Popliteal vein fat embolism

  • May follow supracondylar fracture femur

Common peroneal nerve

  • Nerve can be inadvertenty sectioned during biceps femoris tenotomy as in when easing contractures

  • Nerve may be compressed against lateral femoral condyle