Nerves and Lymphatics of the Pelvis
The pelvis is the lower part of the trunk of the body, located between the abdomen and the legs. It has several important nerves that innervate various structures; and a network of lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.
The nerves of the pelvis are divided into somatic and autonomic nerves. Somatic nerves arise from the lumbosacral and coccygeal plexus, and include the obturator, sciatic, superior gluteal, inferior gluteal, pudendal, nerve to piriformis, nerve to quadratus femoris, nerve to obturator internus, nerves to levator ani and coccygeus, and the posterior cutaneous nerve of the thigh.
Autonomic nerves of the pelvis include the sacral sympathetic trunks, which supply the lower limb. These include the periarterial plexuses, which supply motor fibers to the superior rectal, ovarian, and internal iliac arteries and their branches; the hypogastric plexuses, the main origin of sympathetic fibers in the pelvis; and pelvic splanchnic nerves, which are the main origin of parasympathetic fibers in the pelvis. There are also visceral afferent fibers that receive sensory information from the pelvic viscera.
The lymphatic drainage of the pelvis consists of major and minor lymph nodes. Major lymph nodes include the superficial and deep inguinal, internal iliac, external iliac, sacral, and common iliac lymph nodes; whereas minor lymph nodes lie in the connective tissue that surrounds branches of the internal iliac blood vessels.
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