Updated: 1/1/2022

Vastus lateralis

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  •  SUMMARY
      • Vastus lateralis
      • 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
  • Innervation
    • 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
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