Intraneural ganglion cysts are rare in occurrence and most commonly involve the peroneal nerve at the fibular neck. We present a case of a traumatically induced intraneural ganglion cyst of the sural nerve that developed after a nondisplaced posterior malleolus ankle fracture. The intraneural ganglion cyst was connected to the subtalar joint by its articular branch and ascended several centimeters into the distal fourth of the leg. It was resected from the sural nerve proper and the posterior branch of the lateral calcaneal nerve, and the articular trunk was ligated. The patient developed subclinical intraneural recurrence, which was detected on a postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Retrospective reinterpretation of the preoperative and postoperative MRIs revealed that ligation of the articular trunk proximal to a major branch (ie, the anterior branch of the lateral calcaneal nerve) led to increased intraneural cyst propagation distally: within the blind stump of the articular trunk and within several anterior branches of the lateral calcaneal nerve but not within the parent sural nerve or its continuation, the lateral dorsal cutaneous nerve. This mode of intraneural, but extraparental nerve recurrence can be easily understood by considering the altered fluid dynamics, particularly the increased resistance. This case report provides further evidence not only supporting the articular theory of intraneural ganglion formation but also highlighting the importance of searching for, identifying, and treating the pathologic articular branch connection near its joint connection in all cases. Level of Clinical Evidence: 4.
- ankle fracture
- intraneural ganglion
- sural nerve
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine