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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses: Sciatic Nerve

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

Sciatic Nerve

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed


A number of variations in the course and distribution of the nerve have been reported. Bifurcation into its two major divisions (common peroneal and tibial) may occur anywhere between the sacral plexus and the lower part of the thigh. The two terminal branches of the sciatic may arise directly from the sacral plexus. The division of the nerve into its terminal branches has been reported to occur below the popliteal space.

The nerve to the short head of the biceps femoris sometimes arises directly from the sacral plexus.

In one study of 420 limbs, the sciatic nerve passed beneath the piriformis in 87.5%, through the piriformis in 12% (peroneal division), and above piriformis in 0.5%.In another study of 138 subjects, the sciatic passed beneath the piriformis in 118 cases (85.5%), the peroneal division passed through the piriformis in 17 (12.3%), and the entire sciatic passed through the piriformis in three (2.25%).

Image 69 Image 70 Image 71


References

Beaton, L.E. and B.J. Anson. (1938) The relation of the sciatic nerve and of its subdivisions to the piriformis muscle. Anat. Rec. 70:1-5

Calori, L. (1880) Sull'alta divisione del nervo grande ischiatico considerata come differenza nazionale e sulle varietà del muscolo piriforme. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Istituto di Bologna S. 4. 2:623-633.

Cutore, G. (1902) La division du grand nerf sciatique chez l'homme. Arch Ital. Biol. 37:491.

Féré, Ch. (18790 Note sure un point de l'anatomie du nerf sciatique. Bulletins et Mem. de la Société Anatomique de Paris LIV(2):110-112.

Fredericq, H. (1908) Un cas de division complète du nerf grand sciatique accompagnée d'une duplicité complète du muscle pyramidal. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus 10:168-170.

Hollinshead, W.H. and J.E. Markee. (1946) The multiple innervation of limb muscles in man. J.Bone Joint Surg. 28:721-731.

Kopsch, F. (1908) Rauber's Lehrbuch der Anatomie des Menschen. Georg Thieme, Leipzig.

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

Latarjet, A. (1948) Testut's Traite d'Anatomie Humaine, 9th ed., G. Doin & Cie., Paris.

Ming-Tsu, P'an. (1941) The relation of the sciatic nerve to the piriformis muscle in the Chinese. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 28:375-380.

Misra, B.D. (1954) The relations of the sciatic nerve to the piriformis in Indian cadavers. J. Anat. Soc. India 3:44.

Nizankowski, C., Slociak, J. and J. Szybejko. (1972) Variations of the course of the sciatic nerve in man. Folia Morphol. (Warsaw) 31:451-456.

Parsons, F.G. and A. Keith. (1896-97) Sixth annual report of the Committee of Collective Investigation of the Anatomical Society of Great Britian and Ireland. J. Anat. Physiol. 31:31-44.

Paterson, A.M. (1894) The origin and distribution of the nerves to the lower limb. J. Anat. Physiol. 28:84-95, 169-193.

Schaefer, A.E., Symington, J. and T.H. Bryce., Eds. Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed. Longmans, Green, and Co., London.

Sunderland, S. and E.S.R. Hughes. (1946) Metrical and non-metrical features of muscular branches of the sciatic nerve and its medial and lateral popliteal divisions. J. Comp. Neurol. 85:205-222.

Trotter, M. (1932) The relation of the sciatic nerve to the piriformis muscle. Anat. Rec. 52:321-323.

Vallois, H.V. (1929) Le niveau de bifurcation du nerf grand sciatique chez l'homme. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus 24:519-529.

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