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Neurovascular decompression for idiopathic tarsal tunnel syndrome: technical note


OBJECTIVE The surgical outcome of idiopathic tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is reported to be worse than that attributable to ganglion, tarsal coalition, or tumour, and therefore further development in the surgical treatment for idiopathic TTS is considered to be necessary. Here the efficacy of neurovascular decompression for patients with idiopathic TTS is evaluated.

METHODS Twelve feet from nine patients with idiopathic TTS were treated. The patients were aged 52–78 years (mean 64.6 years), and all of them complained of pain or dysaesthesia of the sole of the foot. The posterior tibial nerve was freed from the attached arteriovenous complex (posterior tibial artery and veins). The dissected nerve had a flattened appearance in all of the patients, suggesting nerve compression by the adjacent arteriovenous complex and superficially by the flexor retinaculum. A graft of fat was inserted as both a cushion and an antiadhesive between the vessels and the nerve to achieve neurovascular decompression.

RESULTS Patients on whom neurovascular decompression was performed had resolution or lessening of symptoms in their feet. Neither wound infection nor recurrence of symptoms was found during the follow up period (mean 26.8 months).

CONCLUSION Neurovascular compression syndrome plays a part in idiopathic TTS, and adding neurovascular decompression to resection of the flexor retinaculum is effective.

  • idiopathic tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • neurovascular decompression
  • peripheral entrapment neuropathy
  • surgery

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