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In human anatomy, the popliteal artery is defined as the extension of the femoral artery after passing through the adductor canal and adductor hiatus above the knee. The termination of the popliteal artery is its bifurcation into the anterior tibial artery and posterior tibial artery.
The popliteal artery, through numerous smaller branches, supplies blood to the knee joint and muscles in the thigh and calf. It is accompanied, along its length, by the popliteal vein.
The branches of the popliteal artery are:
- anterior tibial artery
- posterior tibial artery
- sural artery
- medial superior genicular artery
- lateral superior genicular artery
- middle genicular artery
- lateral inferior genicular artery
- medial inferior genicular artery
The fibular artery typically arises from the posterior tibial artery. Therefore, the posterior tibial artery proximal to the fibular artery origin is sometimes called the tibial-peroneal trunk or tibial-fibular trunk and it could be said that the popliteal artery bifurates into the tibial-fibular trunk and anterior tibial artery.
Embryologically, the popliteal artery is derived from the fetal sciatic artery, which is distinct from the femoral artery.
Its pulse can be palpated behind the knee, but is generally more challenging to find than other arteries of the leg.
- Template:SUNYAnatomyFigs - "Arteries of the lower extremity shown in association with major landmarks."
- Image at umich.edu - pulse
Template:Arteries of lower limbs
- ↑ Day C, Orme R (2006). "Popliteal artery branching patterns -- an angiographic study". Clin Radiol. 61 (8): 696–9. PMID 16843754.