Review: Pelvic nerves - from anatomy and physiology to clinical applications

Transl Neurosci. 2021 Oct 8;12(1):362-378. doi: 10.1515/tnsci-2020-0184. eCollection 2021 Jan 1.


A prerequisite for nerve-sparing pelvic surgery is a thorough understanding of the topographic anatomy of the fine and intricate pelvic nerve networks, and their connections to the central nervous system. Insights into the functions of pelvic nerves will help to interpret disease symptoms correctly and improve treatment. In this article, we review the anatomy and physiology of autonomic pelvic nerves, including their topography and putative functions. The aim is to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of pelvic pain and functional disorders, as well as improve their diagnosis and treatment. The information will also serve as a basis for counseling patients with chronic illnesses. A profound understanding of pelvic neuroanatomy will permit complex surgery in the pelvis without relevant nerve injury.

Keywords: chronic pelvic pain; hypogastric nerves; pelvic neuroanatomy; pelvic neurophysiology; pelvis.

Publication types

  • Review