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J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 2010 Apr;18(1):71-5.

Anatomic variations of neurovascular structures of the ankle in relation to arthroscopic portals: a cadaveric study of Chinese subjects.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Kwong Wah Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong.



To investigate anatomic variations of neurovascular structures in the ankle and the safety margin for arthroscopic portals.


11 left and 12 right ankles from 8 female and 15 male fresh cadavers of Chinese ethnicity aged 53 to 88 (mean, 68) years were used. The ankle was standardised in a plantigrade position, zero-degree inversion, and neutral rotation. Four ankle portals, namely anteromedial (AM), anterolateral (AL), posteromedial (PM) and posterolateral (PL), were identified using 23-gauge needles. Skin and subcutaneous fat were dissected from the underlying fascia to visualise neurovascular structures. Distances were measured from: (1) the AM portal to the saphenous vein and nerve and its branches, (2) the AL portal to branches of the superficial peroneal nerves, of which the lateral one was labelled as the intermediate dorsal cutaneous branch and the medial one as the medial dorsal cutaneous branch, (3) the PM portal to the posterior tibial neurovascular bundles, and (4) the PL portal to the sural nerve.


The distances from (1) the AM portal to branches of the great saphenous vein and nerve, and (2) the AL portal to the intermediate dorsal cutaneous branch of the superficial peroneal nerve were short and may be an anatomic hazard. Variations were significant among the cadavers in terms of distances of the portals to the neurovascular structures.


In Chinese cadavers, variations of neurovascular structures are significant. Care must be taken to avoid inadvertent injury during ankle arthroscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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