Variations in the inferior pelvic pathway of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve: implications for laparoscopic hernia repair

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Female; Femoral Nerve; Hernia, Inguinal; Humans; Ilium; Laparoscopy; Male; Middle Aged; Nerve Compression Syndromes; Skin


Anatomy | Musculoskeletal System


Laparoscopic repair of inguinal hernias is gaining acceptance in the repertoire of the general surgeon. However, nerve entrapment sequelae have been reported and appear to be higher with the laparoscopic approach. Contributing factors include pelvic variations in nerve pathways and the use of staples. We examined the pelvic relations of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) to the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and the iliopubic tract (IPT) because of the high morbidity of entrapment of this nerve, despite its low incidence. The LFCN, ASIS, and IPT were identified and their relationships measured in 48 male and 24 female cadavers ranging in age from 61 to 96 yr. The LFCN was located 1.7 (+/- 1.2) cm medial to the ASIS along the IPT and 1.4 (+/- 0.7) cm posterior (deep) to the IPT at this point, with no significant sex differences. The intrapelvic pathway of the LFCN, including its branches, varied widely so that in 18% of these specimens the LFCN was in either the vertical plane of the ASIS (13%) or in the plane of the IPT (5%). In 11% this nerve was within 1 cm of the ASIS. These data indicate that exclusive use of the ASIS as a guide for staple placement may result in entrapment of this nerve or its branches.

DOI of Published Version



Clin Anat. 1996;9(4):232-6. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2353(1996)9:4<232::AID-CA3>3.0.CO;2-G

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Clinical anatomy (New York, N.Y.)

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PubMed ID