Femoral vein

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Geon Oh et al.

The femoral vein is the main deep vein of the thigh and accompanies the superficial femoral artery and common femoral artery.


The term "superficial femoral vein" or its abbreviation, "SFV" should not be used as it is a misnomer (i.e. it is not a superficial vein), and can be especially confusing in the setting of deep vein thrombosis. This is formally stated in the Terminologia Anatomica (TA). Notwithstanding the above, superficial femoral artery (SFA) remains part of acceptable terminology, including within TA.

"Common femoral vein" is not listed in Terminologia Anatomica, however, it is in common use and is an internationally accepted term 6

Gross anatomy

Origin and course

The femoral vein forms as the continuation of the popliteal vein at the adductor opening. Proximal to the confluence with the deep femoral vein, the femoral vein is commonly known as the common femoral vein. It becomes the external iliac vein as it ascends posterior to the inguinal ligament.

In the distal adductor canal, the vein is posterolateral to the superficial femoral artery. Proximally in the canal, the vein lies posterior to the artery in the distal femoral triangle and medial to the artery at the base of the triangle.

In the upper thigh, the vein is between the common femoral artery and femoral canal and therefore occupies the intermediate/middle compartment of the femoral sheath

Anatomy: Lower limb

Anatomy: Lower limb

Article information

rID: 45180
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Femoral veins (FVs)
  • Superficial femoral veins (SFVs)
  • Superficial femoral vein (SFV)
  • SFV
  • Superficial femoral vein
  • Femoral vein (FV)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: femoral triangle (diagram)
    Drag here to reorder.
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