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Updated: Feb 12 2018

Vastus Lateralis nerves.jpg

Origin Superior portion of intertrochanteric line, anterior and inferior borders of greater trochanter, superior portion of lateral lip of linea aspera, and lateral portion of gluteal tuberosity of femur
Insertion Lateral base and border of patella; also forms the lateral patellar retinaculum and lateral side of quadriceps femoris tendon
Action Extends the knee
Innervation Muscular branches of femoral nerve (L2, L3, L4)
Arterial Supply Lateral circumflex femoral artery

  • Vastus lateralis is supplied by the muscular branches of the femoral nerve
  • Primary nerves of the anterior thigh
    • obturator nerve 
    • femoral nerve 
      • origin
        • L2-4 of lumbar plexus
      • motor 
        • extensors of the knee
          • recuts femoris 
          • vastus lateralis 
          • vastus medialis 
          • vastus intermedius 
      • sensory 
        • none
      • course
        • descends in the abdomen through the psoas
        • runs behind inguinal ligament and into the thigh where it splits into an anterior and posterior division
        • passes through femoral triangle lateral to femoral vessels
        • terminal cutaneous branch is the saphenous nerve
Blood Supply
  • Vastus lateralis is primarily supplied by lateral circumflex artery, a branch of femoral artery
  • Femoral artery 
    • branches in thigh
      • profunda femoris
      • medial femoral circumflex
      • lateral femoral circumflex
        • lateral to rectus femoris
        • branches
          • ascending branch - runs towards ASIS between sartorius and TFL
            • requires ligation during anterior approach to hip
          • transverse branch - joins branch of medial femoral circumflex
          • descending branch - runs between vastus intermedius and lateralis muscles
            • encountered in anterolateral approach to femur
Cross Sectional Anatomy
  • Vastus lateralis lies in the anterior compartment of the thigh
    • anterior compartment consists of
      • rectus femoris (femoral n.)
      • vastus lateralis (femoral n.)
      • vastus medialis (femoral n.)
      • vastus lateralis (femoral n.)
    • vastus lateralis is bordered by
      • at the level of the greater trochanter
        • lateral
          • subcutaneous tissue
        • medial
          • femur
          • vastus intermedius
          • vastus intermedius (anterior/medial)
        • anteromedial
          • rectus femoris
        • posteromedial
          • intermuscular septum
          • sciatic nerve
          • biceps femoris
Relevant Surgical Approaches
  • Hip Anterolateral Approach (Watson-Jones) 
  • Hip Direct Lateral Approach (Hardinge, Transgluteal) 
  • Hip Posterior Approach (Moore or Southern) 
  • Femur Lateral Approach 
  • Femur Posterolateral Approach 
Related Anatomy
  • Quadriceps contusion
Clinical Conditions
  • Quadriceps contusion
Private Note

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