Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses
Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
The genitofemoral or either of its branches (genital or femoral) may be absent. In such cases, the ilioinguinal nerve replaces the genital branch, while the lateral cutaneous or the anterior femoral nerve replaces the femoral branch. The branches of the genitofemoral may replace or join the ilioinguinal nerve.
The genital branch may bypass the deep inguinal ring running superficial to it in the aponeurosis of the external abdominal oblique muscle. The femoral branch may replace or join the lateral or middle cutaneous nerve. On occasion, the femoral branch has an extensive distribution to the skin of the thigh (upper two-thirds). The genital branch may supply the lower fibers of the internal abdominal oblique and transversus muscles. Occasionally, the nerve divides within the substance of the psoas muscle and the two terminal branches emerge separately from the anterior surface of the muscle.
In a study of 200 bodies, the genitofemoral nerve was a single trunk in 80%, and two separate branches, genital and femoral, in 20%. The single trunk may arise from L1, L2 or L2, L3 and the two trunks from L1, L2 or L1, L2 and L3. The third lumbar was represented in 0.75% of cases, the second lumbar in every case. The level of division into terminal branches was highly variable.
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