The femoral canal is the medial compartment of the femoral sheath, an inverted cone-shaped fascial space medial to the common femoral vein within the upper femoral triangle. It is only 1-2 cm long and opens superiorly as the femoral ring. It serves two purposes:
The femoral ring boundaries are:
- medial: lacunar ligament
- anterior: medial part of the inguinal ligament
- lateral: femoral vein within the intermediate compartment of the femoral sheath
- posterior: pectineal ligament overlying the pectineus muscle and its fascia covering the superior pubic ramus
Femoral hernias occur through the femoral ring into the femoral canal. As three of the four boundaries of the femoral ring are either ligamentous or osseous, the ring is unforgiving, which explains the high risk for incarceration of femoral hernias.