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Nerves of the male pelvis

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the nerves involved in the somatic innervation of the male pelvis.
  2. Name the nerves involved in the autonomic innervation of the male pelvis.
  3. Describe the functions of the somatic and autonomic innervation of the male pelvis.

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The nervous supply to the male pelvis includes both somatic innervation (motor and sensory) of the skin and skeletal muscles, and autonomic (visceral) innervation of the pelvic organs and glands.

Somatic innervation
to the male pelvis stems from the lumbar, sacral and coccygeal plexuses. The nerves that arise from these plexuses, including the pudendal nerve, scrotal nerves, and dorsal penis nerve, provide innervation to the muscles of the pelvis and skin of the penis and scrotum.

Autonomic innervation
is provided by both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers. Sympathetic innervation stems from the lumbar and sacral splanchnic nerves, while the parasympathetic supply comes from the pelvic splanchnic nerves. These nerves and their branches form the superior and inferior hypogastric plexuses, which then divide into several smaller plexuses. Fibers from these plexuses innervate the blood vessels, glands and organs of the male pelvis including the rectum, urinary bladder, urethra, testis, epididymidis, prostate, seminal and bulbourethral glands.

Are you curious to discover more details about the nerves of the male pelvis? Then watch the video below.

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Browse atlas

Explore each of these structures in detail in the gallery below.


Key points about the innervation of the male pelvis
Somatic innervation Plexus: Lumbar plexus, sacral plexus, coccygeal plexus.
Obturator nerve, pudendal nerve, rectal nerves, scrotal nerves, dorsal nerve of penis.
Sensory innervation of penis, scrotum, perineum; motoric innervation of muscles of the pelvis.
Autonomic innervation Plexus: Superior hypogastric plexus, inferior hypogastric plexus, rectal plexus, vesical plexus, deferential plexus, prostate plexus.
Lumbar splanchnic nerves, sacral splanchnic nerves, hypogastric nerves, pelvic splanchnic nerves
Sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation of rectum, urinary bladder, urethra, testis, epididymidis, deferent duct, prostate, seminal and bulbourethral glands, corpora cavernosi of penis

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