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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses:Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses

Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

This nerve may arise from the femoral nerve or as an independent branch of the lumbar plexus (L2,L3). Several variations in the formation, course, and branches of this nerve have been reported. The nerve may be absent on one side and may be replaced by a branch of the anterior femoral cutaneous nerve or by the ilioinguinal nerve. The lateral cutaneous is sometimes associated with the anterior femoral cutaneous nerve until it passes distal to the inguinal ligament. The posterior branch of the lateral cutaneous nerve may be replaced by a branch of the genitofemoral nerve.

The nerve may pass beneath the inguinal ligament at a point midway between the anterior superior iliac spine and the femoral artery. In some cases, the posterior branch emerges from beneath the inguinal ligament about 5 cm medial to the anterior superior iliac spine. The nerve may course anterior or posterior to, or pass through, the sartorius muscle. Its subsequent division into anterior and posterior branches provides the sensory innervation of the anterior and lateral sides of the thigh.


Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F. A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich and Baltimore.

Henle, J. (1868) Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie der Menschen. von Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn, Braunschweig.

Kosinski, C. (1926) La valeur anthropologique des variations dans l'innervation cutanée des membres inférieurs. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus. 21:291-295.

Urbanowicz, Z. (1977) External structure of the cutaneous femoral lateral nerve in postfoetal life in man. Folia Morphol. (Warsaw) 36:265-271.

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