The descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral artery runs down the leg and is located behind the rectus femoris muscle.
The descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral artery supplies the vastus lateralis muscle (part of the quadriceps muscle of the thigh), with a long branch that travels through the muscle downward as far as the knee. It connects with the superior lateral genicular artery, which is accompanied by the vastus lateralis muscle and the branch of the femoral nerve. This artery provides blood to the vastus lateralis and intermedius and also supplies multiple perforating veins to the skin, which overlies the fascia lata and lateral parts of the knee.
The branch is one of the main communication channels between the superficial and deep femoral systems of the legs. The descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral artery may start from the profunda artery or from the femoral artery, and varies between individuals—this is known as anatomical variations.