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High resolution ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance (MR) neurography are both imaging modalities that are commonly used for assessing peripheral nerves including the sural nerve (SN). The SN is a cutaneous sensory nerve which innervates the lateral ankle and foot to the base of the fifth metatarsal. It is formed by contributing nerves from the tibial and common peroneal nerves with six patterns and multiple subtypes described in literature. In addition to the SN being a cutaneous sensory nerve, the superficial location enables the nerve to be easily biopsied and harvested for a nerve graft, as well as increasing the susceptibility to traumatic injury. As with any peripheral nerves, pathologies such as peripheral nerve sheath tumors and neuropathies can also affect the SN. By utilizing a high frequency probe in US and high-resolution MR neurography, the SN can be easily identified even with the multiple variations given the standard distal course. US and MRI are also useful in determining pathology of the SN given the specific image findings that are seen with peripheral nerves. In this review, we evaluate the normal imaging anatomy of the SN and discuss common pathologies identified on imaging.


Logan Joseph Jackson, Muhamad Serhal, Imran M Omar, Ankur Garg, Julia Michalek, Ali Serhal. Sural nerve: imaging anatomy and pathology. The British journal of radiology. 2023 Jan 01;96(1141):20220336

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PMID: 36039944

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