Posterior tibial perforators relationship with superficial nerves and veins: A cadaver study

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Abstract

Background

Most authors have evaluated the location of lower leg arterial perforators, but little is still known about the relationship between the arterial network and great saphenous vein (GSV) and saphenous nerve (SN). The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between the arterial network of the posterior tibial artery perforators, the cutaneous nerves, and the superficial venous system in the lower one third of the leg.

Methods

Eighteen lower limbs from cadavers were used for this study. The arterial and venous compartment were selectively injected with a mixture of barium sulfate and epoxy. The specimen were CT scanned and the superficial veins, nerves, and the arterial perforators were dissected.

Results

A large perforator of the posterior tibial artery was found at a mean distance of 6.23 cm ± 0.88, with a 95% CI: 5.79–6.67, from the medial malleolus. The average diameter was 0.9 mm ± 0.17, with a 95% CI: 0.81–0.99. In 67% the connection of the venae comitantes to the superficial venous system was established with the GSV, in the other cases, with Leonardo's vein. Both dissection and imaging studies showed perineural interperforator connections along the branches of SN in all the specimens examined.

Conclusions

The distribution pattern of posterior tibial artery perforators followed the superficial nerves in this region. There is an interperforator anastomotic network along the SN. The various patterns of the venous drainage system, in relationship to the distribution of the branches of posterior tibial artery perforators, have been clarified.

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