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Inferior gluteal nerve

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 inferior gluteal nerve is a branch of the posterior division of the sacral plexus. More specifically, this nerve arises from the posterior divisions of the anterior (ventral) rami of spinal nerves L5, S1 and S2. The inferior gluteal nerve originates in the pelvis and runs through the greater sciatic foramen to emerge in the gluteal region.

The inferior gluteal nerve is primarily a motor nerve. Its main function is to provide motor innervation for the gluteus maximus muscle.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the inferior gluteal nerve.

Key facts about the inferior gluteal nerve
Origin Sacral plexus (L5, S1, S2)
Branches Motor branches, communicating branches
Supply Gluteus maximus muscle

Origin and course

The inferior gluteal nerve originates in the pelvic area from the sacral plexus (root value L5, S1, S2). It branches just proximal to the origin of the sciatic nerve. Upon originating, the inferior gluteal nerve runs anterior to the piriformis muscle. After its short course through the pelvic cavity, the inferior gluteal nerve leaves the pelvis through the inferior part of the greater sciatic foramen (under the piriformis muscle) accompanied by the inferior gluteal artery. The nerve then enters the gluteal region and pierces the deep surface of the gluteus maximus muscle.

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Branches and innervation

Along its course, the inferior gluteal nerve gives off several small muscular branches that innervate the gluteus maximus muscle.The main function of the gluteus maximus muscle is the extension of the trunk from a forward bending position, and extension of the hip from a sitting to standing position. In addition, the inferior gluteal nerve often gives off a communicating branch to the posterior femoral cutaneous nerve.

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