The femoral artery is a large blood vessel of the thigh, supplying oxygen-rich blood to the thigh. It arises from the external iliac artery which comes off from the common iliac artery, and this in turn from the abdominal aorta. Passing fairly close to the outer surface of the upper thighs, the femoral artery is divided into three parts: 1) the common femoral artery, which branches into 2) the deep femoral artery, that provides blood to the thigh, and 3) the superficial femoral artery, which provides blood to the arteries that supply the knee and foot. After giving off several other smaller branches, the femoral artery goes behind the knee and becomes the popliteal artery. The venous counterpart of the femoral artery is the femoral vein. It takes essentially the same course as the femoral artery but transports blood in the opposite direction: toward the heart.