Anatomical feasibility of the anterior obturator nerve transfer to restore bowel and bladder function

Matthew T. Houdek, Eric R. Wagner, Cody C. Wyles, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Total sacrectomies are radical procedures required to treat tumorigenic processes involving the sacrum. The purpose of our anatomical study was to assess the feasibility of a novel nerve transfer involving the anterior obturator nerve to the pudendal and pelvic nerves to the rectum and bladder. Anterior dissection of the obturator nerve was performed in eight hemipelvis cadaver specimens. The common obturator nerve branched into the anterior and posterior at the level of the obturator foramen. The anterior branch then divided into two separate branches (adductor longus and gracilis). The branch to the gracilis was on average longer and also larger than the branch to the adductor longus (8.7 ± 2.1 cm vs. 6.7 ± 2.6 cm in length and 2.6 ± 0.2 mm vs 1.8 ± 0.4 mm in diameter). Each branch of the anterior obturator was long enough to reach the pelvic nerves. The novel transfer of the anterior branch of the obturator nerve to reinnervate the bladder and bowel is anatomically feasible. This represents a promising option with minimal donor site deficit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-463
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this