Anatomy word of the month: Pudendal nerve

April 2, 2013 —

FigLeafPudendal comes from a Latin word meaning, “to be ashamed”. Interesting that this term is an archaic reference to the external genitalia. Obviously, the association of “shame” to “private parts”, those areas that should be hidden from view whether with a fig leaf or clothing, stems from ancient times. However, the term is still used to identify the artery, vein and nerve that primarily supply the genital area: internal pudendal artery, vein and pudendal nerve. Pudendal is also attached to a medical procedure used during delivery, a pudendal block, to anesthetize the area surrounding the vagina before passage of the baby’s head.


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?

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