Popliteal fossa

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Popliteal Artery


The popliteal artery is the continuation of the femoral artery

From the Adductor hiatus to the soleal arch / lower border of the popliteus muscle



Femur (fat intervening), capsule of knee joint and popliteus (covered by the popliteus fascia)

Gastrocnemius and plantaris . crossed from lateral to medial side by the tibial nerve and popliteal vein , the vein being between the artery and the nerve

Above are biceps femoris, tibial nerve, popliteal vein and the lateral condyle of the femur and below are plantaris and lateral head of gastrocnemius.

Above are semimembranosus and the medial condyle of the femur and below are the tibial nerve, popliteal vein and medial head of gastrocnemius.


  • Early bifurcation ( above the level of popliteus)
  • Division into anterior tibial and peroneal arteries with rudimentary posterior tibial
  • Trifurcation:Anterior and posterior tibial and peroneal arteries.

Surface Anatomy :

Represented by a line from the junction of the middle and lower thirds of the thigh down and laterally to the midline between femoral condyles. It continues obliquely inferomedially until the level of the tibial tubersosity.


These include:

  • Muscular branches.
  • Artcicular (genicular) branches to knee joint.
  • Anterior tibial artery.
  • Posterior tibial artery.

Genicular Anastomosis:

Note the following:

  1. Two named genicular branches of popliteal artery on each side a superior and an inferior.
  2. Three supplementary arteries:
  • Descending genicular branch of the femoral artery superomedially.
  • Descending branch of the lateral femoral circumflex artery, superolaterally.
  • Anterior recurrent branch of anterior tibial artery, inferolaterally.

3. The inferior lateral genicular artery runs along the lateral meniscus; an unnamed artery runs similarly along the medial meniscus.

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