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Neurovasculature of the hip and thigh

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the main arteries of the hip and thigh region and their supply areas.
  2. List major veins of this region and their drainage areas.
  3. Name the nerves of the hip and thigh and become familiar with their origin.

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The blood supply for the hip and thigh mainly arises from the internal iliac and femoral arteries. The internal iliac artery gives rise to the superior gluteal, inferior gluteal and obturator arteries. They mainly supply the gluteal region, but some of their branches also supply the thigh area. The femoral artery is a continuation of the external iliac artery after it enters the femoral triangle and is the main supplier of the structures of the thigh. The region is drained mainly by the femoral vein with its two main tributaries: the deep femoral and great saphenous veins. Both muscular and cutaneous innervation of the hip and thigh comes from the nerves of the lumbar (L1-L4) and sacral (L4-S4) plexuses.

Take a look at the video below and dig into the arteries, veins and nerves of the hip and thigh.

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Key points about neurovasculature of the hip and thigh
Arteries of the hip and thigh External iliac artery: Deep circumflex iliac artery, femoral artery, superficial epigastric artery, superficial circumflex iliac artery, deep femoral artery, medial circumflex femoral artery, lateral circumflex femoral artery, descending genicular artery
Internal iliac artery
: Obturator artery, superior gluteal artery, inferior gluteal artery
Veins of the hip and thigh (tributaries) Superficial: Great saphenous vein, accessory saphenous vein
: Femoral vein, deep femoral vein, medial circumflex femoral vein, lateral circumflex femoral vein
Nerves of the hip and thigh Lumbar plexus: Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, accessory obturator nerve, obturator nerve, femoral nerve (saphenous nerve), superior cluneal nerves
Sacral plexus
: Superior gluteal nerve, inferior gluteal nerve, posterior femoral cutaneous nerve (inferior cluneal nerves), sciatic nerve (tibial nerve, common fibular nerve), medial cluneal nerves
Muscular innervation Femoral nerve: Quadriceps femoris, pectineus, sartorius
Sciatic nerve
: Biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and the ischial portion of the adductor magnus
Obturator nerve
: Adductor brevis, adductor longus, gracilis, obturator externus, adductor magnus
Superior gluteal nerve
: Tensor fasciae latae, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, piriformis
Inferior gluteal nerve
: Gluteus maximus
Cutaneous innervation Femoral nerve: Anterior and medial thigh (anterior cutaneous branches)
Saphenous nerve
: Area over course of saphenous vein; articular branches to hip and knee joints
Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
: Lateral thigh
Posterior femoral cutaneous nerve
: Lower border of gluteus maximus, back and medial thigh
Sciatic nerve
: Posterior thigh
Obturator nerve
: Medial thigh
Superior cluneal nerves
: Superior buttocks
Medial cluneal nerves
: Medial buttocks
Inferior cluneal nerves
: Inferior buttocks

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