Anatomic variations of superficial peroneal nerve: clinical implications of a cadaver study

Prakash, Ajay Kumar Bhardwaj, Deepak Kumar Singh, T Rajini, V Jayanthi, Gajendra Singh
Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology 2010, 115 (3): 223-8
Superficial peroneal nerve and its branches are frequently at risk for iatrogenic damage. Although different studies on anatomical variations of superficial peroneal nerve are available in the medical literature, such reports are rare from India. Hence the present study was undertaken on Indian population. A total of 60 specimens of inferior extremities from 30 properly embalmed and formalin fixed cadavers were dissected and examined for the location and course of the superficial peroneal nerve including number, level, course and distributions of branches. The superficial peroneal nerve in 28.3% specimens was located in the anterior compartment of the leg. In 8.3% specimens the superficial peroneal nerve branched before piercing between the peroneus longus and extensor digitorum longus muscle whereas in 11.7% specimens it branched after piercing the aforementioned muscles and before piercing the deep fascia. In 41 out of 60 specimens the sensory division of superficial peroneal nerve branched into the medial dorsal cutaneous nerve and intermediate dorsal cutaneous nerve distal to its emergence from the deep fascia and proximal to its relation to the extensor retinaculum. In 20 out of 60 specimens the accessory deep peroneal nerve, an additional branch from the sensory division of superficial peroneal nerve, through its course in the anterior compartment of the leg passed deep to the extensor retinaculum and supplied the ankle and the dorsum of foot. Hopefully the present study will help in minimizing iatrogenic damage to the superficial peroneal nerve and its branches while performing arthroscopy, local anesthetic block, surgical approach to the fibula, open reduction and internal fixation of lateral malleolar fractures, application of external fixators, elevation of a fasciocutaneous or fibular flaps for grafting, surgical decompression of neurovascular structures, or miscellaneous surgery on leg, foot and ankle.

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