The lateral femoral circumflex artery supplies oxygenated blood to the anterior (front) and middle portions of the thigh muscles. It typically branches off from the deep femoral artery, although in a minority of cases (15 percent) it arises directly from the femoral artery.

Its origin is just below the hip joint. It runs between branches of the femoral nerve. It goes deep into the sartorius muscle, the longest in the human body, then into the rectus femoris muscle, one of the four quadriceps of the legs. It subdivides into the anterior, transverse, and descending branches.

The lateral femoral circumflex artery or one of its branches is sometimes used as a source for vascular grafts during coronary artery bypass surgery.