Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 11, P1530-1536, November 2012

Complete mapping of lateral and medial sural artery perforators: Anatomical study with Duplex-Doppler ultrasound correlation



      The precise vascular anatomy of posterior lower leg skin is not well understood. Despite being a potential donor site for sural artery perforator flaps, this region is rarely used and underestimated. The aim of this study was to provide exact preoperative planning for medial and lateral sural artery perforator flap harvest.


      An anatomical study on 16 cadaveric lower legs was performed to determine the number and location of all medial and lateral sural artery perforators in relation to five fixed points (medial and lateral maleolus, calcaneus, medial and lateral condyle). A Duplex study on 32 lower legs determined the number and location of dominant medial and lateral sural artery perforators in relation to same anatomical points. Results of the two studies were correlated.


      A total of 234 perforators were found in the anatomical (134) and Duplex studies (100). A dominant lateral sural artery perforator was found in 9.4% of all lateral perforators in 31% of dissected legs. A dominant medial sural artery perforator was found in 37% of all medial perforators in 94% of legs. The difference in the number of dominant medial and lateral perforators was significant (p < 0.001) in the anatomical study, while no significant difference was found in the Duplex study (p = 0.920).


      The anatomical study showed relative unreliability of sural region regarding number of dominant perforators. Therefore, harvest of medial and particularly lateral sural artery perforator flap is unsafe without preoperative perforator mapping. No significant difference in location of dominant perforators was found between Duplex and anatomical studies. Duplex proved reliable for planning of sural artery perforator flaps due to high precision in detecting location of dominant perforators.


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