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Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve

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The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve originates from the dorsal branches of the second and third lumbar ventral rami. It emerges from the lateral edge of the psoas major muscle and travels diagonally across the iliacus muscle, heading towards the anterior superior iliac spine. It provides innervation to the parietal peritoneum located in the iliac fossa.

The right nerve courses in a posterolateral direction relative to the caecum, being separated from it by the iliac fascia and peritoneum. The left nerve passes behind the lower section of the descending colon.

Both nerves travel either behind or through the inguinal ligament. They then pass anteriorly through or alongside the sartorius muscle into the thigh, where they further divide into anterior and posterior branches.

The anterior branch of the nerve becomes superficial around 10 cm below the anterior superior iliac spine. It then proceeds to provide innervation to the skin of the front and outer side of the thigh, extending all the way to the knee. At its endpoint, it connects with the cutaneous branches of the anterior division of the femoral nerve and the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve. These combine to form the peripatellar plexus.

The posterior branch penetrates the fascia lata at a higher position compared to the anterior branch. It then splits to provide innervation to the skin on the outer side, extending from the greater trochanter to approximately the middle of the thigh. Additionally, it may also supply sensation to the skin of the gluteal region.

Terminology Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
Latin: Nervus cutaneous lateralis femoris
Origin Dorsal branches of the second and third lumbar ventral rami (L2,L3)
Branches Anterior and posterior branches of lateral femoral nerve
Supply Anterior branch: the skin of the anterolateral thigh
Posterior branch: the skin of the lateral aspect of the greater trochanter to the mid-thigh, as well as the gluteal region

Learn more about the nerves of the lower limb here: 

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