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The femoral triangle and superficial veins of the leg

  • Harold Ellis
    Affiliations
    Harold Ellis CBE MCh FRCS was a Professor of Surgery at Westminster Medical School until 1989. Since then he has taught anatomy, first in Cambridge and now at Guy’s Hospital, London
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      Abstract

      The femoral triangle is important in puncture and exposure of the femoral artery, block dissection of the groin lymph nodes and surgery of the great saphenous vein at its termination. The great (long) saphenous vein passes upwards from in front of the medial malleolus to a hand’s breadth behind the patella to pierce the deep fascia at the groin to enter the common femoral vein. The landmark for this is one finger’s breadth medial to the femoral pulse, which is located halfway between the anterior superior iliac spine and the pubic symphysis. The small (short) saphenous vein commences behind the lateral malleolus and ascends behind the calf to enter the popliteal vein at the popliteal fossa. Both veins have numerous tributaries and perforators, guarded by valves, which join the deep veins. The great saphenous vein relates to the saphenous nerve, the small vein relates to the sural nerve and both may be injured in vein surgery.

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