The quadriceps femoris is traditionally described as a muscle group composed of the rectus femoris and the three vasti. However, clinical experience and investigations of anatomical specimens are not consistent with the text- book description. We have found a second tensor-like muscle between the vastus lateralis (VL) and the vastus intermedius (VI), hereafter named the tensor VI (TVI). The aim of this study was to clarify whether this intervening muscle was a variation of the VL or the VI, or a separate head of the exten- sor apparatus. Twenty-six cadaveric lower limbs were investigated. The architecture of the quadriceps femoris was examined with special attention to innervation and vascularization patterns. All muscle components were traced from origin to insertion and their affiliations were determined. A TVI was found in all dissections. It was supplied by independent muscular and vascular branches of the femoral nerve and lateral circumflex femoral artery. Further distally, the TVI combined with an aponeurosis merging separately into the quadriceps tendon and inserting on the medial aspect of the patella.
Motus Comment - in examining the course of this newly discovered muscle one may wonder if it plays a role in lateral tracking disorders of the patella - comments are welcome on this hypothesis.