Anatomical variations of the sciatic nerve in a group of Brazilian cadavers

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The sciatic nerve is often involved in conditions of pain. It is a long nerve, prone to injuries that are the consequence of trauma, inflammation and entrapment. One possible cause of sciatic pain derives from the piriformis muscle, which maintains a very close anatomical relationship with the sciatic nerve. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the characteristics of the sciatic nerve and its relationship to the piriformis muscle in a group of Brazilian cadavers. METHOD: Anatomical dissection of 40 human limbs with detailed studies of the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle. RESULTS: Anatomical variations of the relationship between the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle were rare. Data on the sciatic nerve length and width showed similar results to those from the literature. CONCLUSION: The piriformis syndrome is a painful condition considered by many to be associated to anatomical variations of the relationship between the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle. The rarity of such variations, in the present series and in the studies published by other groups, suggests that the painful syndrome may often occur without the anatomical variations.

Louver limbs; Pain; Piriformis muscle; Sciatic nerve


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