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Gluteal nerves

Recommended video: Sacral plexus [24:26]
The anatomy of the sacral plexus, including its spinal roots and its branches to the pelvis and lower limb.

The superior and inferior gluteal nerves are motor nerves arising from the sacral plexus, which is formed by the anterior (ventral) rami of spinal nerves L4-S4. The superior gluteal nerve arises from the posterior (dorsal) division of anterior rami L4-S1, while the inferior gluteal nerve originates from the posterior division of anterior rami L5-S2.

The gluteal nerves arise in the lumbosacral region. Both of them exit the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen and pass the piriformis muscle, with the superior gluteal nerve passing over, and the inferior gluteal nerve passing under the muscle. After leaving the pelvis, they terminate by giving off branches to innervate the gluteal muscles.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the gluteal nerves.

Key facts about the superior gluteal nerve
Origin Sacral plexus (L4–S1)
Branches Superior, inferior branches
Supply Gluteus medius muscle, gluteus minimus muscle, and tensor fasciae latae muscle
Key facts about the inferior gluteal nerve
Origin Sacral plexus (L5–S2)
Branches Branches for gluteus maximus muscle
Supply Gluteus maximus muscle
  1. Superior gluteal nerve
  2. Inferior gluteal nerve
  3. Clinical relations
    1. Superior gluteal nerve entrapment syndrome
  4. Sources
+ Show all

Superior gluteal nerve

The superior gluteal nerve is a motor branch of the sacral plexus that arises from the posterior divisions of the L4, L5, and S1 anterior roots. On its way, it passes through the greater sciatic foramen accompanied by the superior gluteal artery and vein. The superior gluteal nerve and vessels pass superiorly to the piriformis muscle, after which the nerve divides into its superior and inferior branches.

The superior branch innervates the gluteus medius muscle, while the inferior branch innervates the gluteus minimus and the tensor fasciae latae muscle.

Continue learning and testing your knowledge of the superior and inferior gluteal nerves with Kenhub application! Try it out and make your anatomy information more accessible!

Inferior gluteal nerve

The inferior gluteal nerve is also a motor branch of the sacral plexus, arising from the posterior divisions of the L5, S1, and S2 anterior roots. It courses inferiorly and exits the pelvic cavity via the greater sciatic foramen while passing inferiorly to the piriformis muscle.

The inferior gluteal nerve terminates by providing branches for the motor innervation of the gluteus maximus muscle.

Take the following quiz to test and reinforce your knowledge about the sacral plexus:

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