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Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve

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  • General
    • Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve (LFCN) is part of the lumbar plexus
    • Note: Sometimes referred to as Lateral Cutaneous Nerve of the Thigh (LCNT) or Nervus Cutaneous Femoris Lateralis
    • Primarily functions as a sensory nerve
  • Origins
    • Several different combinations of lumbar nerve roots
    • Varies from L1 to L3
  • Normal Anatomic pathway
    • Emerges at the lateral border of the psoas major, crosses the iliacus, to the anterior superior iliac spine.
    • The nerve then passes under the inguinal ligament and over the sartorius muscle
    • It then enters the thigh as it divides into an anterior posterior branch
    • Anatomic variations occur about 25% of the time[1]
  • Anatomic Variants
    • Type A: LFCN runs posterior to the ASIS over the Iliac Crest (4%).
    • Type B: LFCN runs anterior to the ASIS, above the tendinous origin of Sartorius, Embedded in the tissue of the Inguinal Ligament (27%).
    • Type C: LFCN runs medial to the ASIS, embedded in the tendinous origin of Sartorius (23%)
    • Type D: LFCN runs medial to the tendinous origin of Sartorius, localized between the tendon and Sartorius, and a thick fascia of Iliopsoas under the Inguinal Ligament (26%).
    • Type E: LFCN runs further medially, is embedded in the connective tissue under the Inguinal Ligament, lies on the thin fascia of the Iliopsoas where it branches off toward the ramus femoralis of the nervus genitofemoralis (20%).



  • Sensory nerve of the lateral thigh

Vascular Supply


  • Variable from L1 to L3 nerve roots

Clinical Significance

See Also


  1. de Ridder VA, de Lange S, Popta JV. Anatomical variations of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and the consequences for surgery. J Orthop Trauma. 1999;13:207– 211.
Created by:
John Kiel on 16 September 2020 12:30:31
Last edited:
17 September 2020 13:52:13