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Coincidence between the distribution of myofascial trigger points and the presence of blood vessels in the gastrocnemius muscle: Implications for invasive procedures.

PURPOSE: The gastrocnemius venous system presents different anatomical variants. There have been described four locations of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in this muscle. However, no studies have analyzed the coincidence between vessels and MTrPs present in the gastrocnemius. Therefore, the main objective was to study the anatomical variability of the venous system by ultrasound and its coincidence with the location of the MTrPs.

METHODS: A total of 100 lower limbs were studied. The gastrocnemius vessels were analyzed one by one by sector (medial, central, and lateral), quantifying the number of vessels, their distribution, and the coincidence with MTrPs.

RESULTS: All muscle heads showed at least one vessel per section. A large variability was observed, from one to eight vessels per muscle head, with the most frequent number being three in the gastrocnemius medialis and two in the gastrocnemius lateralis. In all cases, the location of the vessels coincided with the MTrPs.

CONCLUSIONS: The proximal gastrocnemius venous pattern is very variable between subjects in number of vessels and distribution, which has made it impossible to define a "safe" approach window for invasive procedures without ultrasound guidance. The coincidence between the clinical location of MTrPs of the gastrocnemius and the presence of vessels is total.

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