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The blood supply of the common peroneal nerve in the popliteal fossa

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We investigated the blood supply of the common peroneal nerve. Dissection of 19 lower limbs, including six with intra-vascular injection of latex, allowed gross and microscopic measurements to be made of the blood supply of the common peroneal nerve in the popliteal fossa. This showed that a long segment of the nerve in the vicinity of the fibular neck contained only a few intraneural vessels of fine calibre. By contrast, the tibial nerve received an abundant supply from a constant series of vessels arising directly from the popliteal and posterior tibial arteries.

The susceptibility of the common peroneal nerve to injury from a variety of causes and its lack of response to operative treatment may be explained by the tenuous nature of its intrinsic blood supply.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor M. D. Cassell; e-mail: martin-cassell@uiowa.edu

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