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Descending Genicular Artery
Cardiovascular System

Descending Genicular Artery

Arteria descendens genus

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Quick Facts

Origin: Distal part of femoral artery.

Course: Descends in the thigh towards the medial aspect of the knee joint.

Branches: Saphenous and articular branches.

Supplied Structures: Knee joint, cutaneous tissue of the knee joint, and superomedial region of the leg.

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The descending genicular artery arises from the distal portion of the femoral artery, proximal to the adductor hiatus.


The descending genicular artery descends between the vastus medialis and adductor magnus muscles. It extends to the medial aspect of the knee joint where it aids in the formation of the genicular anastomotic network.


The descending genicular artery bifurcates into the saphenous and the articular branches. The saphenous branch descends with the saphenous nerve, deep to the sartorius muscle, along the medial aspect of the knee. The articular branch aids in the formation of genicular anastomosis. There are also muscular branches to the vastus medialis and adductor magnus muscles.

Supplied Structures

The descending genicular artery supplies the medial femoral condyle and contributes to the vascular supply of the knee joint. The descending genicular anastomosis may provide a collateral vascular supply via the femoral artery if the popliteal artery is compromised. However, its ability to provide an adequate collateral supply to the knee joint is debated in the literature (Shahid et al., 2015; Sabalbal, Johnson and McAlister, 2013).


Sabalbal, M., Johnson, M. and McAlister, V. (2013) 'Absence of the genicular arterial anastomosis as generally depicted in textbooks', Ann R Coll Surg Engl, 95(6), pp. 405-9.

Shahid, S., Saghir, N., Cawley, O. and Saujani, S. (2015) 'A Cadaveric Study of the Branching Pattern and Diameter of the Genicular Arteries: A Focus on the Middle Genicular Artery', J Knee Surg, 28(5), pp. 417-24.

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Arteries are vessels transporting blood between heart, tissues, and other organs in order to supply them with nutrition and oxygen.

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