Anatomy and potential clinical significance of the vastoadductor membrane

R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Nihal Apaydin, W. Jerry Oakes, E. George Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Few reports are found in the extant medical literature regarding the vastoadductor membrane. This membrane effectively creates a subcompartment within the subsartorial canal. The lower limbs of 16 embalmed adult cadavers were dissected to identify the vastoadductor membrane and note its measurements. A vastoadductor membrane was identified in all specimens and was derived from the medial intermuscular septum. This membrane connected the medial edge of the vastus medialis muscle to the lateral edge of the adductor magnus muscle. Membranes were all wider proximally and narrowed distally. The mean length of this structure was 7.6 cm. The mean width of the vastoadductor membrane at its proximal, midportion, and distal parts was 2.2, 1.7, and 0.5 cm, respectively. The mean distance from the anterior superior iliac spine to the proximal border of the vastoadductor membrane was 28 cm. The mean distance from the distal border of the membrane to the adductor tubercle was 10 cm. Seventy-five percent of specimens exhibited a fenestrated vastoadductor membrane. Branches of the saphenous nerve to the skin of the medial thigh pierced the vastoadductor membrane in 31% of specimens. Two specimens demonstrated branches derived from the branch of the obturator nerve that pierced this membrane en route to the skin of the medial thigh. Perforating venous branches from the great saphenous vein were identified in 22% of specimens. As compression of the femoral artery at the adductor hiatus is a well-recognized entity, the clinician may also try to explore potential compression of this vessel more proximally by an overlying vastoadductor membrane. The authors would also hypothesize that due to the interconnection between the adductor magnus and vastus medialis by the vastoadductor membrane that a potential synergy exists between the functions of these two muscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-573
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Femoral nerve
  • Lower extremity
  • Quadriceps
  • Thigh
  • Vastoadductor membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Surgery
  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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