Basic anatomy of the lower limbs
The large caliber abdominal aorta (1) terminates by forking (bifurcation) into two large common iliac arteries (2) that have practically no side branches.
Each of these arteries also bifurcates into branches: The internal iliac artery (3), also called the hypogastric artery, that supplies all the organs of the pelvis and the genitalia with blood, and the external iliac artery (4).
The common femoral artery (5) is a continuation of the external iliac artery. It lies at the root of the thigh and is the most frequently used artery for arterial approach in all diagnostic and interventional procedures.
The common femoral artery rapidly divides into the superficial femoral artery (6), which runs on the interior part of the thigh and has few if any sidebranches, and the profound femoral artery (7) which is responsible for supplying blood to all muscles of the thigh.
The superficial femoral artery is continued by the popliteal artery (8), which passes to the calf behind the knee joint.
In the superior (upper) part of the calf, the popliteal artery divides into three branches (two tibial arteries (9) and one interosseous artery), which are responsible for supplying blood to all the muscles of the calf.
All three of them descend to the leg where they form an anastomotic plexus that supplies blood to all local tissue.
PVD is a common circulation problem in which arteries that carry blood to the arms or legs become narrow or clogged and the blood flow gets slower or stops.
Diminished blood flow to a part of the body may cause discomfort because the blood carries essential substances such as oxygen and nutrients to all the cells.
If the blood flow to a certain part of a limb stops completely for a few hours, that part may suffer up to irreversible damage.
This phenomenon is called gangrene and the only available treatment is amputation.