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The Clinical Importance of Variations in the Surgical Anatomy of the Superficial Peroneal Nerve in the Mid-Third of the Lateral Leg

Ducic, Ivica MD, PhD*; Dellon, A Lee MD; Graw, Katherine S. MS

doi: 10.1097/01.sap.0000203258.96961.a6
Original Article
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The superficial peroneal nerve (SPN) provides fundamental motor and sensory innervation to the leg and foot. A variety of surgical procedures is performed in the vicinity of this nerve, requiring that the surgeon be familiar with its specific anatomy. We dissected 111 legs to define the anatomic position of the SPN and found that the nerve had 4 distinct variations in location. In 77 (69.4%) specimens, the nerve coursed within the lateral compartment of the leg, while in 18 (16.2%) of the legs, the nerve split and contained branches in both the lateral and anterior compartments. The nerve in 7 (6.3%) legs was found within the intermuscular septum, and in 9 (8.1%) of the specimens, the SPN traveled only within the anterior compartment. These results confirm 4 anatomic variants of the SPN, which will aid surgeons in locating the nerve in the lateral aspect of the leg.

A combined surgical and cadaver examination of the superficial peroneal nerve demonstrated 4 distinct variations in location, with the lateral compartment most commonly noted (69.4%), followed in order by a split nerve in both anterior and lateral compartments (16.2%), anterior compartment alone (8.1%) and intermuscular septum (6.3%).

From the *Department of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC; †Institute for Peripheral Nerve Surgery, Baltimore, MD; and ‡Georgetown University, School of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Received August 3, 2005, and accepted for publication, after revision, December 14, 2005.

Reprints: Ivica Ducic, MD, PhD, Georgetown University Hospital, Department of Plastic Surgery, 3800 Reservoir Rd, Washington, DC 20007. E-mail: ducici@gunet.georgetown.edu.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.