Variations in the course and microanatomical study of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and its clinical importance

Clin Anat. 2010 Nov;23(8):978-84. doi: 10.1002/ca.21043.


The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN), a branch from the lumbar plexus, may come to the clinician's or surgeon's attention. We studied this nerve to determine its location and its relationship with neighboring structures around the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and the inguinal ligament (IL). Additionally, cross-sectional microanatomy of the LFCN at the IL was studied. The LFCN was dissected in 47 lower limbs from formalin-fixed cadavers. The distances from the ASIS to the point where the LFCN crossed the IL and the lateral border of the sartorius were measured. The distance between the ASIS and the point it pierced the deep fascia was also measured. Twelve nerve specimens at the IL were collected for histological sectioning and were stained with hematoxylin and eosin. On examination of the cross-sectional area, the nonfascicular area was wider than the fascicular area because of an increased amount of thick collagen fibers. This study may be of help to clinicians managing meralgia paresthetica and may also assist in defining a safe area for surgical intervention on the anterolateral aspect of the thigh.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Humans
  • Ilium / innervation
  • Inguinal Canal / anatomy & histology
  • Ligaments / anatomy & histology
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / anatomy & histology*
  • Middle Aged