What is the anatomy of the genitofemoral nerve in nerve entrapment syndromes of the lower extremity?

Updated: Oct 15, 2019
  • Author: Minoo Hadjari Hollis, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Answer

The genitofemoral nerve arises from the L1 and L2 ventral primary rami, which fuse in the psoas muscle. It pierces the anterior surface of the psoas major at the level of L3-4 and descends on the fascial surface of the psoas major past the ureter. The nerve then splits into genital and femoral branches near the inguinal ligament.

The genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve continues along the psoas major to the deep inguinal ring and enters the inguinal canal. In males, it supplies the cremaster muscle, spermatic cord, scrotum, and adjacent thigh. In females, it travels with the round ligament of the uterus and provides cutaneous sensation to the labia majora and adjacent thigh.

The femoral branch of the genitofemoral nerve lies lateral to the genital branch on the psoas major and travels lateral to the femoral artery and posterior to the inguinal ligament to enter the proximal thigh. There, it pierces the sartorius distal to the inguinal ligament and supplies the proximal portion of the thigh about the femoral triangle, just lateral to the skin that is innervated by the ilioinguinal nerve.


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