Origin of the direct and reflected head of the rectus femoris: An anatomic study

John M. Ryan, Joshua D. Harris, William C. Graham, Sohrab S. Virk, Thomas J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose This study aimed to define the footprint of the direct and reflected heads of the rectus femoris and the relation of the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) to adjacent neurovascular (lateral circumflex femoral artery and femoral nerve), bony (anterior superior iliac spine [ASIS]), and tendinous structures (iliopsoas). Methods Twelve fresh-frozen cadaveric hip joints from 6 cadavers, average age of 44.5 (±9.9) years, were carefully dissected of skin and fascia to expose the muscular, capsular, and bony structures of the anterior hip and pelvis. Using digital calipers, measurements were taken of the footprint of the rectus femoris on the AIIS, superior-lateral acetabulum and hip capsule, and adjacent anatomic structures. Results The average dimensions of the footprint of the direct head of the rectus femoris were 13.4 mm (±1.7) × 26.0 mm (±4.1), whereas the dimensions of the reflected head footprint were 47.7 mm (±4.4) × 16.8 mm (±2.2). Important anatomic structures, including the femoral nerve, psoas tendon, and lateral circumflex femoral artery, were noted in proximity to the AIIS. The neurovascular structure closest to the AIIS was the femoral nerve (20.8 ± 3.4 mm). Conclusions The rectus femoris direct and reflected heads originate over a broad area of the anterolateral pelvis and are in close proximity to critical neurovascular structures, and care must be taken to avoid them during hip arthroscopy. Clinical Relevance A thorough knowledge of the anatomy of the proximal rectus femoris is valuable for any surgical exposure of the anterior hip joint, particularly arthroscopic subspine decompression and open femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-802
Number of pages7
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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