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Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2018 Sep 4. doi: 10.5603/FM.a2018.0083. [Epub ahead of print]

Differences in fetal topographical anatomy between insertion sites of the iliopsoas and gluteus medius muscles into the proximal femur: a consideration of femoral torsion.

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Department of Anatomy, Wuxi School of Medicine, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.


Prenatal twisting of the femoral neck seems to result in an angle of anteversion or torsion, but the underlying process has not been elucidated. This study analyzed sagittal, frontal and horizontal sections of 34 embryo and fetal specimens of gestational age (GA) 6-16 weeks (crown-rump length 21-130 mm). At GA 6-7 weeks, the iliopsoas (IP) and gluteus medius (GME) muscles were inserted into the anterior and posterior aspects of the femur, respectively, allowing both insertions to be viewed in a single sagittal section. At GA 8 weeks, the greater trochanter and the femoral neck angle became evident, and the GME tendon was inserted into the upper tip of the trochanter. At GA 9 weeks, the location of IP insertion was to the medial side of the GME insertion. After 9 weeks, the IP insertion consisted of a wavy, tendinous part of the psoas muscle and another part of the iliacus muscle, with many fibers of the latter muscle attached to the joint capsule. After GA 12 weeks, the IP was inserted into the anteromedial side of the greater trochanter, while the aponeurotic insertion of the GME wrapped around the trochanter. At GA 15-16 weeks, a deep flexion at the hip joint caused an alteration in the relative heights of the lesser and greater trochanter, with the former migrating from the inferior to the slightly superior side. These findings indicate that twisting of the femoral neck started at GA 8-9 weeks.


femur; gluteus medius muscle; hip joint rotation; human fetus; iliopsoas muscle; neck angle; torsion; trochanter

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