Descending genicular artery

Last revised by Dr Ammar Haouimi on 18 Sep 2021

The descending genicular artery (DGA) is one of the arteries of the knee joint and participates in the vascularization of the superomedial structures of the knee including the patella network.

  • location: knee
  • origin: distal femoral artery
  • branches: saphenous, muscular and osteoarticular branches
  • supply: patellar network

The descending genicular artery originates from the distal femoral artery approximately 12-17 cm above the knee joint line in the region of the adductor hiatus. It descends medially to the distal femoral diaphysis and the medial femoral condyle. Its size is often inversely related to the superior medial genicular artery. It shows a quite variable branching pattern usually splits into two or three major branches 1, 2.

The descending genicular artery subdivides into three branches and cutaneous perforating branches 1:

  • saphenous branch
  • muscular branch
  • osteoarticular branch

The muscular and osteoarticular branches share often a common trunk and are also described as a musculoarticular branch 1,2.

It anastomoses with the following arteries 1:

The superior lateral genicular artery participates in the supply of the following structures 1,2:

The descending genicular artery can be seen originating from the distal femoral artery displaying an “inverted Y” appearance 2.

The descending genicular artery was described by Henry Gray in his atlas Gray’s anatomy 5.

The superior medial genicular artery can be injured within the scope of a traumatic injury or distal femoral surgery such as total knee arthroplasty or fracture surgery 6,7.

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