To further delineate the anatomy of the motor nerve to the vastus lateralis (MNVL) in the context of its use as a possible interpositional nerve graft in facial nerve rehabilitation.
Twelve fresh human cadaveric thighs were dissected to investigate the anatomic location and branching pattern of the MNVL muscle.
There were 3 to 6 primary nerve branches (mean, 4.4) supplying the vastus lateralis. The mean primary branch length was 93.8 mm (range, 51-196 mm), and each primary branch had a mean of 2.3 subsequent branches. There were 2 larger caliber branches (>2 mm in diameter) supplying the proximal and distal muscle. The nerve branches are variable in their relation to the vascular pedicle and perforating vessels of the descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral artery.
The nerve to the vastus lateralis is a readily available, redundant motor nerve suitable for facial nerve cable grafting.