Objectives: To describe the course of the dorsal nerve of the clitoris (DNC) to better define its anatomy in the human adult and to help surgeons to avoid iatrogenic injury during surgical procedures.
Method: An extensive review of the current literature was done on Medline via PubMed by using the following keywords: "anatomie du clitoris", "anatomy of clitoris", "nerf dorsal du clitoris", "dorsal nerve of clitoris", "réparation clitoridienne", "transposition clitoridienne", "surgery of the clitoris", "clitoridoplasty". This review analyzed dissection, magnetic resonance imaging, 3-dimensional sectional anatomy reconstruction and immuno-histochemical studies.
Results: The DNC comes from the pudendal nerve. He travels from under the inferior pubis ramus to the posterosuperior edge of the clitoral crus. The DNC reappears under the pubic symphysis and enters the deep component of the suspensory ligament. He runs on the dorsal face of the clitoral body at 11 and 1 o'clock. Distally, he gives many nervous ramifications, runs along the tunica and enters the glans.
Conclusion: The NDC might be surgically injured (i) under the pubic symphysis, at the union of the two crus of clitoris and (ii) on the dorsal surface of the clitoral body. The pathway of the DNC on the dorsal face of the clitoris permits to approach the ventral face of the clitoris without risk of iatrogenic injuries. The distance between the pubic symphysis and the DNC implies that the incision should be done just under the pubic symphysis. Distally, the dissection of the DNC next the glands appears as dangerous and impossible, considering that the DNC is too close to the glandular tissues.
Keywords: Anatomie du clitoris; Anatomy of clitoris; Clitoridoplasty; Dorsal nerve of clitoris; Nerf dorsal du clitoris; Réparation clitoridienne; Surgery of the clitoris; Transposition clitoridienne.
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