Superficial peroneal nerve (superficial fibularis nerve): the clinical implications of anatomic variability

Stephen L Barrett, A Lee Dellon, Gedge D Rosson, Linda Walters
Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery: Official Publication of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons 2006, 45 (3): 174-6
The purpose of this study is to refine further the knowledge about the anatomic variability of the superficial peroneal nerve in the middle third of the leg. Approaching the superficial peroneal nerve in this location is required: 1) when either the deep or the superficial peroneal nerve must be resected for the treatment of dorsal foot pain; 2) when a neurolysis of the superficial peroneal nerve is required; 3) when a fasciotomy must be performed either for trauma or for exertional compartment syndrome surgery; and 4) during elevation of a fasciocutaneous or fibular flaps. Because of the variability encountered during these procedures, a prospective study was carried out via lower extremity cadaver dissection with fresh, frozen specimens. A total of 35 nonpaired lower extremities and 40 paired lower extremities were dissected with 3.5 loupe magnification. The superficial peroneal nerve was identified in the lateral compartment immediately adjacent to the fascial septum in 72% of the specimens (54 of 75), with a branch in both the anterior and the lateral compartment in 5% of the specimens (4 of 75), and located in the anterior compartment in only 23% of the specimens (17 of 75). The clinical implications of these anatomic findings are that the surgeon operating in the anterior and lateral compartments of the leg should be aware that the superficial peroneal nerve may be located in the lateral compartment and may also exhibit branches in both the anterior and lateral compartments.

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