Femoral canal

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 29 Aug 2021

The femoral canal is the medial compartment of the femoral sheath, an inverted cone-shaped fascial space medial to the common femoral vein within the upper femoral triangle. It is only 1-2 cm long and opens superiorly as the femoral ring. It serves two purposes:

  1. allows the femoral vein to expand when there is increased venous return from the lower limb
  2. a route for efferent lymphatic drainage from the deep inguinal nodes (e.g. Cloquet's node) to the external iliac chain

The femoral ring boundaries are:

Related pathology

Femoral hernias occur through the femoral ring into the femoral canal. As three of the four boundaries of the femoral ring are either ligamentous or osseous, the ring is unforgiving, which explains the high risk for incarceration of femoral hernias.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: femoral triangle (diagram)
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  • Figure 2: femoral canal (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 3: femoral triangle and sheath (Gray's illustrations)
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