Distal Nerve Transfers in High Peroneal Nerve Lesions: An Anatomical Feasibility Study

Stefan Salminger, Clemens Gstoettner, Lena Hirtler, Roland Blumer, Christoph Fuchssteiner, Gregor Laengle, Johannes A Mayer, Konstantin D Bergmeister, Wolfgang J Weninger, Oskar C Aszmann

Publikation: Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift (peer-reviewed)Artikel in Fachzeitschrift

1 Zitat (Scopus)


The peroneal nerve is one of the most commonly injured nerves of the lower extremity. Nerve grafting has been shown to result in poor functional outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare anatomical feasibility as well as axon count of the tibial nerve motor branches and the tibialis anterior motor branch for a direct nerve transfer to reconstruct ankle dorsiflexion. In an anatomical study on 26 human body donors (52 extremities) the muscular branches to the lateral (GCL) and the medial head (GCM) of the gastrocnemius muscle, the soleus muscle (S) as well as the tibialis anterior muscle (TA) were dissected, and each nerve's external diameter was measured. Nerve transfers from each of the three donor nerves (GCL, GCM, S) to the recipient nerve (TA) were performed and the distance between the achievable coaptation site and anatomic landmarks was measured. Additionally, nerve samples were taken from eight extremities, and antibody as well immunofluorescence staining were performed, primarily evaluating axon count. The average diameter of the nerve branches to the GCL was 1.49 ± 0.37, to GCM 1.5 ± 0.32, to S 1.94 ± 0.37 and to TA 1.97 ± 0.32 mm, respectively. The distance from the coaptation site to the TA muscle was 43.75 ± 12.1 using the branch to the GCL, 48.31 ± 11.32 for GCM, and 19.12 ± 11.68 mm for S, respectively. The axon count for TA was 1597.14 ± 325.94, while the donor nerves showed 297.5 ± 106.82 (GCL), 418.5 ± 62.44 (GCM), and 1101.86 ± 135.92 (S). Diameter and axon count were significantly higher for S compared to GCL as well as GCM, while regeneration distance was significantly lower. The soleus muscle branch exhibited the most appropriate axon count and nerve diameter in our study, while also reaching closest to the tibialis anterior muscle. These results indicate the soleus nerve transfer to be the favorable option for the reconstruction of ankle dorsiflexion, in comparison to the gastrocnemius muscle branches. This surgical approach can be used to achieve a biomechanically appropriate reconstruction, in contrast to tendon transfers which generally only achieve weak active dorsiflexion.

FachzeitschriftJournal of Personalized Medicine
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 16 Feb. 2023


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