Development of an ultrasound-guided transgluteal injection of the pudendal nerve in cats: a cadaveric study

Published:November 29, 2021DOI:



      To develop an ultrasound-guided interfascial plane technique for injection of the pudendal nerve near its sacral origin in cats.

      Study design

      Prospective, randomized, anatomical study.


      A group of 12 feline cadavers.


      Gross and ultrasound anatomy of the ischiorectal fossa, the pudendal nerve relationship with parasacral structures, and the interfascial plane were described. Computed tomography was employed to describe a cranial transgluteal approach to the pudendal nerve. Bilateral ultrasound-guided injections were performed in eight cadavers using low [(LV) 0.1 mL kg–1] or high volume [(HV) 0.2 mL kg–1] of ropivacaine–dye solution. Dissections were performed to determine successful staining of the pudendal nerve (>1 cm) and inadvertent staining of the sciatic nerve, and any rectal, urethral, or intravascular puncture. Pudendal nerve staining in groups LV and HV were compared using Fisher's exact and Wilcoxon rank-sum test as appropriate (p = 0.05).


      The pudendal nerve and its rectal perineal and sensory branches coursed through the ischiorectal fossa, dorsomedial to the ischiatic spine. The pudendal nerve was not identified ultrasonographically, but the target plane was identified between the sacral transverse process, the ischiatic spine, the pelvic fascia and the rectum, and it was filled with dye solution. Both branches of the pudendal nerve were completely stained 75% and 87.5% in groups LV and HV, respectively (p = 1.00). The dorsal aspect of the sciatic nerve was partially stained in 37% of injections in group HV. Rectal or urethral puncture and intravascular injection were not observed.

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      In cats, ultrasound-guided cranial transgluteal injection successfully stained the pudendal nerve in at least 75% of attempts, regardless of injectate volume. Group HV had a greater probability of sciatic nerve staining.


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