This section is from the book "Anatomy Of The Arteries Of The Human Body", by John Hatch Power. Also available from Amazon: Anatomy of the Arteries of the Human Body, with the Descriptive Anatomy of the Heart.
The patient is to be placed on his back, on a table, and the thigh rotated slightly outwards, so as to make the incision look directly upwards. The line of the artery is to be distinguished by feeling its pulsation, which will become indistinct or imperceptible, inferiorly, where the sartorius begins to overlap it. In the course of this line, the first incision should be made through the integuments, commencing about two inches beneath Poupart's ligament, and extending from about two inches and a half to three inches in length. This incision will lie on the outside of the saphena vein. The superficial fascia should be next cautiously divided. Any lymphatic gland, or large cutaneous veins, that present themselves, should be carefully avoided. A portion of the fascia lata should then be raised in the forceps, and divided horizontally; after which a director should be introduced into the opening in the fascia, with the view of enlarging it to the extent of an inch. The sheath of the vessel is now to be divided in the same cautious way, when the artery will be brought into view. The femoral vein lies immediately behind the artery; therefore a blunt instrument, such as an eye-probe, must be employed, with great caution, to separate them. The needle is then to be passed round the artery, from within outwards; keeping it close to the artery, in order to avoid the vein and some small branches of the crural nerve, which usually lie to its outside. In some cases a nerve will lie directly over the artery ;—it should be carefully drawn out of the way. Should the femoral vein be unfortunately wounded, there will probably be no notice given of the occurrence till the needle is withdrawn, and then a gush of black blood will announce the accident. This is certainly an alarming occurrence; but we have known it to happen, and the patient notwithstanding to recover, without suffering any inconvenience whatever from it.