The perineal nerve (n. perinei), the inferior and larger of the two terminal branches of the pudendal, is situated below the internal pudendal artery. It accompanies the perineal artery and divides into posterior scrotal (or labial) and muscular branches.

The posterior scrotal (or labialbranches (nn. scrotales (or labialesposteriores; superficial peroneal nerves) are two in number, medial and lateral. They pierce the fascia of the urogenital diaphragm, and run forward along the lateral part of the urethral triangle in company with the posterior scrotal branches of the perineal artery; they are distributed to the skin of the scrotum and communicate with the perineal branch of the posterior femoral cutaneous nerve. These nerves supply the labium majus in the female.

 The muscular branches are distributed to the Transversus perinæi superficialis, Bulbocavernous, Ischiocavernosus, and Constrictor urethræ. A branch, the nerve to the bulb, given off from the nerve to the Bulbocavernosus, pierces this muscle, and supplies the corpus cavernosum urethræ, ending in the mucous membrane of the urethra.

The dorsal nerve of the penis (n. dorsalis penis) is the deepest division of the pudendal nerve; it accompanies the internal pudendal artery along the ramus of the ischium; it then runs forward along the margin of the inferior ramus of the pubis, between the superior and inferior layers of the fascia of the urogenital diaphragm. Piercing the inferior layer it gives a branch to the corpus cavernosum penis, and passes forward, in company with the dorsal artery of the penis, between the layers of the suspensory ligament, on to the dorsum of the penis, and ends on the glans penis. In the female this nerve is very small, and supplies the clitoris (n. dorsalis clitoridis).

 The Visceral Branches arise from the third and fourth, and sometimes from the second, sacral nerves, and are distributed to the bladder and rectum and, in the female, to the vagina; they communicate with the pelvic plexuses of the sympathetic.

The Muscular Branches are derived from the fourth sacral, and supply the Levator ani, Coccygeus, and Sphincter ani externus. The branches to the Levator ani and Coccygeus enter their pelvic surfaces; that to the Sphincter ani externus (perineal branch) reaches the ischiorectal fossa by piercing the Coccygeus or by passing between it and the Levator ani. Cutaneous filaments from this branch supply the skin between the anus and the coccyx.

Text by Antoine Micheau, MD - Copyright IMAIOS


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