Anatomic variations related to decompression of the common peroneal nerve at the fibular head

A Lee Dellon, Johannes Ebmer, Patrick Swier
Annals of Plastic Surgery 2002, 48 (1): 30-4
Peroneal nerve decompression at the fibular head may be anticipated to be performed more often because lower extremity peripheral nerve surgery is used to restore sensation to the feet of diabetic patients. Although the basic concept of releasing the fascia of the peroneus longus is well-known, anatomic variants related to the peroneus muscle have been identified that must be included in the technique for decompression of this nerve. A comparison of these anatomic variants was done between a random selection of 29 cadavers (bilateral) and 65 patients who underwent unilateral peroneal decompression to treat symptoms of that compression. A fibrous band on the undersurface of the superficial head of the peroneus longus was found in 30% of the cadavers and it was found in 78.5% of the patients. The mean width of the band in cadavers was 9.1 mm and in patients it was 10.1 mm. A fibrous band on the superficial surface of the deep head of the peroneus longus was found in 43% of cadavers, and it was found in 20% of the patients. The soleus muscle origin was joined to the peroneus muscle origin in 9% of cadavers and it was noted in 6% of the patients. It is suggested that during surgical decompression of the common peroneal nerve at the fibular head, the surgeon be aware of these anatomic variants so that they may be released appropriately.

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