A “perineal” branch of the sciatic nerve has been visualized during surgery, but there is currently no description of this nerve branch in the literature. Our study investigates the presence and frequency of occurrence of perineal innervation by the sciatic nerve and characterizes its anatomy in the posterior thigh. Fifteen cadavers were obtained for dissection. Descriptive results were recorded and analyzed statistically. Twenty-one sciatic nerves were adequately anatomically preserved. Six sciatic nerves contained a perineal branch. Five sciatic nerves had a branch contributing to the perineal branch of the posterior femoral cutaneous (PFC) nerve. In specimens with adequate anatomical preservation, the perineal branch of the sciatic nerve passed posterior to the ischial tuberosity in three specimens and posterior to the conjoint tendon of the long head of biceps femoris and semitendinosus muscles (conjoint tendon) in one. In specimens in which the perineal branch of the PFC nerve received a contribution from the sciatic nerve, the branch passed posterior to the sacrotuberous ligament in one case and posterior to the conjoint tendon in three. Unilateral nerve anatomy was found to be a poor predictor of contralateral anatomy (Cohen's kappa = 0.06). Our study demonstrates for the first time the presence and frequency of occurrence of the perineal branch of the sciatic nerve and a sciatic contribution to the perineal branch of the PFC nerve. Clinicians should be cognizant of this nerve and its varying anatomy so their practice is better informed. Clin. Anat. 31:357–363, 2018.
- perineal branch
- posterior femoral cutaneous nerve
- sciatic nerve
ASJC Scopus subject areas