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Gavin A. Davis and Ian H. Cox

Object

The etiology of intraneural ganglia has been debated for centuries, and only recently a unifying theory has been proposed. The incidence of tibial nerve intraneural ganglia is restricted to the occasional case report, and there are no reported cases of these lesions in children. While evidence of the unifying theory for intraneural ganglia of the common peroneal nerve is strong, there are only a few reports describing the application of the theory in the tibial nerve. In this report the authors examine tibial nerve intraneural ganglia at the ankle and knee in an adult and a child, respectively, and describe the clinical utility of incorporating the unifying (articular) theory in the management of tibial intraneural ganglia in adults and children.

Methods

Cases of tibial intraneural ganglion cysts were examined clinically, radiologically, operatively, and histologically to demonstrate the application of the unified (articular) theory for the development of these cysts in adults and children.

Results

Two patients with intraneural ganglion cysts of the tibial nerve were identified: an adult with an intraneural ganglion cyst of the tibial nerve at the tarsal tunnel and a child with an intraneural ganglion cyst of the tibial nerve at the knee. In each case, preoperative MR imaging demonstrated the intraneural cyst and its connection to the adjacent joint via the articular branch to the subtalar joint and superior tibiofibular joint. At surgery the articular branch was identified and resected, thus disconnecting the tibial nerve intraneural cyst from the joint of origin.

Conclusions

These cases detail the important features of intraneural ganglion cysts of the tibial nerve and document the clinical utility of incorporating the unifying (articular) theory for the surgical management of tibial intraneural ganglia in adults and children.