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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Ultrasound of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in asymptomatic adults

Jiaan Zhu1*, Yiwen Zhao2, Fang liu2, Yunxia Huang1, Junjie Shao3 and Bing Hu4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ultrasound, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, 600 Yishan Rd, Shanghai, 200233, China

2 Department of Ultrasound, Central Hospital of Fengxian District, 9588 Nan Feng Road, Shanghai, 201400, China

3 Department of orthopedics, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, 600 Yishan Rd, Shanghai, 200233, China

4 600 Yishan Rd, Shanghai, 200233, China

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:227  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-227

Published: 22 November 2012

Abstract

Background

To define the sites where the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) is more easily visualized and to describe the anatomical variations of the LFCN.

Methods

A total of 240 LFCNs in 120 volunteers were evaluated with 18 MHz ultrasound; the intermuscular space between the tensor fasciae latae muscle and the sartorius was used as an initial sonographic landmark. The time taken to identify the nerve was recorded. The number of nerve branches at the level of the inguinal ligament (IL) and the relationship between the LFCN and the IL was assessed. The nerve cross-sectional area (CSA) of the LFCN and the distance between the LFCN and the anterior superior iliac spine was measured.

Results

Each nerve was identified using ultrasound in all participants. The mean time for identifying the nerve was 7s for unilateral LFCNs. The nerve passed under the IL in 198 cases, whereas in 44 cases, it passed through to the IL. The LFCN consisted of 1–4 branches just after its passage under or through the IL. The CSA of the LFCN was 1.04±0.44 mm2, and the mean distance between the LFCN and the anterior superior iliac spine was 15.6 ± 4.2 mm.

Conclusions

It is easier to identify the LFCN if the intermuscular space between the tensor fasciae latae muscle and the sartorius is used as an initial sonographic landmark. The anatomical variation of the LFCN can be viewed with high-frequency ultrasound.

Keywords:
Ultrasound; Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve; Inguinal ligament; Anatomy