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Prakash, Bhardwaj AK, Devi MN, Sridevi NS, Rao PK, Singh G
Correspondence: Dr Prakash, email@example.com
Introduction The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve, with a long course in the inferior extremity. Its division into the tibial and common peroneal nerves can occur at any level from the sacral plexus to the inferior part of the popliteal space. These anatomical variations may contribute to clinical conditions such as piriformis syndrome, sciatica and coccygodynia.
Methods This study was performed on cadavers in order to study the level of sciatic nerve division. The inferior extremities of 43 cadavers were classified into six groups depending on the level of sciatic nerve division in the gluteal region, the upper, middle and lower parts of the back of the thigh, and the popliteal fossa.
Results The highest incidence of sciatic nerve division (40.7 percent) was observed in the lower part of the posterior compartment of the thigh. In 34.9 percent of the specimens, the sciatic nerve was divided into tibial and common peroneal nerves in the popliteal fossa. 16.3 percent of extremities showed sciatic nerve division proximal to its entrance in the gluteal region.
Conclusion In sciatic nerve neuropathies, the extent of neurological deficits depends on the level of sciatic nerve division. Sciatic nerve division into tibial and common peroneal components at a higher level can result in the involvement of only one out of the two divisions from sciatic neuropathy. It can also result in a failure of the sciatic nerve block while performing popliteal block anaesthesia.
Keywords: anatomy, cadaver, common peroneal nerve, sciatic nerve, tibial nerve
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(9): 721-723