The hypogastric nerve (not to be confused with the iliohypogastric nerve) is a continuation of the superior hypogastric plexus. It is a sympathetic nerve, carrying the inputs from the T12-L3 segments of the spinal cord.
The main function of the hypogastric nerve is to connect the superior and inferior hypogastric plexuses. This way, it conveys the sympathetic inputs to the inferior hypogastric plexus, which then transmits it to the viscera of the pelvic cavity via its branches and subplexuses.
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the hypogastric nerve.
|Origin||Superior hypogastric plexus (T12-L3)|
|Function||Sympathetic supply to the inferior hypogastric plexus|
Origin, course and function
The hypogastric nerve is seen as a bundle of fibers that connect the superior and inferior hypogastric plexuses. It passes over the anterior surface of the sacrum, and then enters the hypogastric sheath (a thickened portion of the pelvic fascia).
The fibers then diverge and join the pelvic splanchnic nerves to form the ipsilateral inferior hypogastric plexus. This way, the hypogastric nerve is the primary sympathetic source to the inferior hypogastric plexus, while the pelvic splanchnic nerves are the parasympathetic source.
The function of the hypogastric nerve reflects the sympathetic function of the inferior hypogastric plexus. Via the plexus and its branches, the hypogastric nerve gives sympathetic innervation to the rectum, urinary bladder, prostate, seminal glands, cervix of uterus and vagina.
Hypogastric nerve: want to learn more about it?
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