An ultrasound study of anatomic variants of the sural nerve

Muscle Nerve. 2011 Apr;43(4):560-2. doi: 10.1002/mus.21918. Epub 2011 Feb 8.


Introduction: There are anatomic variations of the sural nerve (SN). Knowledge of these morphological types and the length of the SN are important for planning surgical reconstruction of peripheral nerves. Our purpose was to classify the morphological types of the SN by using ultrasound.

Methods: Two-hundred SNs in 100 normal subjects were examined by ultrasound with 13-MHz linear-array transducers. Classification of the SN was evaluated by its formation. The distance between the union and the distal point of the lateral malleolus was measured.

Results: SN variants could be classified into three types: type I (81%); type II (18%); and type III (1%). In type I, the average length of the SN was 15.8 ± 5.7 cm.

Conclusions: The morphological types of the SN can be determined using ultrasound. Ultrasound classification of the SN is useful with regard to donor nerve surgical reconstruction of peripheral nerves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sural Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Sural Nerve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult