Greater sciatic foramen

The greater sciatic foramen is an opening (foramen) in the posterior human pelvis. It is formed by the sacrotuberous and sacrospinous ligaments. The piriformis muscle passes through the foramen and occupies most of its volume. The greater sciatic foramen is wider in women than in men.

Greater sciatic foramen
The pelvis showing the greater sciatic foramen in red.
Latinforamen ischiadicum majus
Anatomical terminology


It is bounded as follows:


The piriformis, which exits the pelvis through the foramen, occupies most of its volume.

The following structures also exit the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen:

Above the Piriformissuprapiriform foramen[1]superior gluteal vesselssuperior gluteal nerve
Below the Piriformisinfrapiriform foramen[1]inferior gluteal vessels
internal pudendal vessels
inferior gluteal nerve
pudendal nerve
sciatic nerve
posterior femoral cutaneous nerve
Nerve to obturator internus
Nerve to quadratus femoris

The foramen contains:[2]

  • 7 nerves:
    • Sciatic Nerve:
    • Superior Gluteal Nerve:
    • Inferior Gluteal Nerve:
    • Pudendal Nerve:
    • Posterior Femoral Cutaneous Nerve
    • Nerve to Quadratus Femoris
    • Nerve to Obturator Internus
  • 3 Vessel Sets:
    • Superior Gluteal Artery & Vein
    • Inferior Gluteal Artery & vein
    • Internal Pudendal Artery & vein
  • 1 Muscle:
    • Piriformis

See also


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 309 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. Yokochi, Chihiro; Rohen, Johannes W. (2006). Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-7817-9013-0.
  2. "Greater Sciatic Foramen - Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
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