Descending genicular artery
Citation, DOI and article data
- 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:
- sartorius muscle
- gracilis muscle
- rectus femoris muscle
- vastus medialis muscle
- vastus intermedius muscle
- adductor magnus muscle
- patella and distal quadriceps tendon
- medial femoral condyle
The descending genicular artery can be seen originating from the distal femoral artery displaying an “inverted Y” appearance 2.
History and etymology
The descending genicular artery was described by Henry Gray in his atlas Gray’s anatomy 5.
- 1. Hirtler L, Lübbers A, Rath C. Vascular Coverage of the Anterior Knee Region - an Anatomical Study. J Anat. 2019;235(2):289-298. doi:10.1111/joa.13004
- 2. Bagla S, Piechowiak R, Sajan A, Orlando J, Hipolito Canario A, Isaacson A. Angiographic Analysis of the Anatomical Variants in Genicular Artery Embolization. Journal of Clinical Interventional Radiology ISVIR. 2021. doi:10.1055/s-0041-1729464
- 3. García-Pumarino R & Franco J. Anatomical Variability of Descending Genicular Artery. Ann Plast Surg. 2014;73(5):607-11. doi:10.1097/SAP.0b013e318276d964
- 4. Frank H. Netter. Atlas of Human Anatomy. (2018-02-27) ISBN: 9780323393225
- 5. Sabalbal M, Johnson M, McAlister V. Absence of the Genicular Arterial Anastomosis as Generally Depicted in Textbooks. annals. 2013;95(6):405-409. doi:10.1308/003588413x13629960046831
- 6. Giurazza F, Corvino F, Silvestre M, Corvino A, Niola R. The Role of Interventional Radiology in the Treatment of Lower Limb Vascular Injuries After Orthopaedic Surgery. Pol J Radiol. 2019;84:e504-e510. doi:10.5114/pjr.2019.91204
- 7. Silvestri A, Regis D, Trivellin G et al. Descending Genicular Artery Injury Following Transient Lateral Patellar Dislocation. J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2018;9(Suppl 2):S39-S43. doi:10.1016/j.jcot.2018.02.013