Citation, DOI & article data
The popliteal fossa (plural: fossae) is a diamond or rhomboid-shaped fat-filled space in the posterior knee. The space is extremely dynamic, allowing for its neurovascular contents to move during the extreme range of motion produced by knee flexion and extension.
- superolateral: medial border of biceps femoris muscle
- superomedial: lateral border of semimembranosus muscle (with the tendon of semitendinosus superficial to it)
- inferolateral: medial border of the lateral head of gastrocnemius
- inferomedial: lateral border of the medial head of gastrocnemius
- floor: (superior to inferior) popliteal surface of the femur, knee joint capsule, popliteus muscle
- roof: skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia lata
See the mnemonic here.
- popliteal artery: deepest, gives off genicular branches
- popliteal vein: in between the artery and tibial nerve
- tibial nerve: most superficial, giving off the sural nerve which descends to pierce the roof
- common fibular (peroneal) nerve: runs along the lateral border, giving off a communicating sural nerve which descends to pierce the roof in the lateral fossa and join the sural nerve
- posterior femoral cutaneous nerve: descends and pierces the roof
- small saphenous vein: ascends and pierces the roof to enter the popliteal vein in the lower half of the fossa
- popliteal lymph nodes
At all levels, the popliteal vein is found between the popliteal artery and the tibial nerve 2.
- 1. Moore KL, Dalley AF. Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (1999) ISBN:0683061410. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Mcminn. Last's Anatomy. Elsevier Australia. (2003) ISBN:0729537528. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 3. Butler P, Mitchell A, Healy JC. Applied Radiological Anatomy. Cambridge University Press. (2012) ISBN:0521766664. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon