Morphology of Saphenous Nerve in Cadavers: A Guide to Saphenous Block and Surgical Interventions

Anat Cell Biol. 2019 Sep;52(3):262-268. doi: 10.5115/acb.19.031. Epub 2019 Sep 26.


The knowledge about detailed morphology and relation of saphenous nerve is important to obtain successful saphenous nerve regional blocks to achieve pre- and post-operative anesthesia and analgesia, nerve entrapment treatments and to avoid damage of saphenous nerve during knee and ankle surgeries. The literature describing detailed morphology of saphenous nerve is very limited. We dissected 42 formalin fixed well embalmed cadaveric lower limbs to explore detailed anatomy, relation and mode of termination of saphenous nerve and measured the distances from the nearby palpable bony landmarks. The average distance of origin of saphenous nerve from inguinal crease was 7.89±1.42 cm, the distance from upper end of medial border of patella to saphenous nerve at that level was 8.11±0.85 cm, distance from tibial tuberosity was 7.53±0.98 cm and from midpoint of anterior border of medial malleolus was 0.45±0.14 cm. Saphenous nerve provided two infrapatellar branches at the level of mid to lower limit of patellar ligament in 90% cases. It was in close contact or adhered to great saphenous vein across the lower 2/3rd of leg lying either anterior, posterior or deep to the vein. The saphenous nerve terminated by bifurcating proximal to medial malleolus in majority of cases though no obvious bifurcation was observed in 9.52% cases. The detailed morphology, relations and the distances from palpable bony landmarks may be helpful for clinicians to achieve successful saphenous nerve block and to avoid saphenous nerve damage and related complications during orthopedic procedures.

Keywords: Relation of saphenous nerve with great saphenous vein; Saphenous nerve; Saphenous nerve block; Saphenous nerve injury.