BACKGROUND: Functional popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (FPAES) is a rare disorder described in young, physically active adults that can be limb or performance threatening if untreated. We used provocative computed tomography angiography (CTA) in these patients to guide partial debulking of the anterolateral quadrant of the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle for FPAES and reviewed the outcomes of this technique in this highly specialized cohort.METHODS: Athletes referred with symptoms of FPAES underwent a CTA protocol with provocative plantarflexion and dorsiflexion to confirm compression and were offered surgery. All patients underwent posterior approach operative exposure of the popliteal artery, adhesiolysis, side branch ligation, and partial excision of the gastrocnemius muscle with or without fasciotomies. Preoperative imaging, operative findings, and midterm follow-up, including return to baseline function and return to competitive function, as well as symptom recurrence, were retrospectively reviewed.RESULTS: Thirty-six athletes had a total of 56 limbs treated. The average patient age was 26.9years and the majority were female (56%). Thirty-one percent of patients were referred after already having undergone prior fasciotomies. Sports involved included track and field or running (47%), soccer (25%), water sports (8%), basketball (6%), lacrosse (6%), climbing (3%), skiing (3%), and gymnastics (3%). Of the patients, 27 (75%) had bilateral symptoms and evidence of entrapment; however, only 20 of the 36 (56%) underwent bilateral surgical treatment for symptom resolution. The mean amount of gastrocnemius muscle removed was 7.6cm3. Nine percent of limbs underwent a bypass along with debulking owing to arterial occlusion at presentation. Postoperatively, there were no nerve or vascular complications noted, although two patients had wound/seroma complications (6%). At the first follow-up, all patients reported mild symptom improvement, but at the midterm follow-up (mean follow-up time, 16months), six (17%) reported mild to moderate recurrence of symptoms. Of the patients, 78% were able to fully return to their previous competitive levels of sports. All patients were able to resume their athletic endeavor at a recreational level.CONCLUSIONS: More than three-fourths of athletes limited by FPAES demonstrate full return to prior competitive levels with fasciotomy and surgical debulking of the anterolateral quadrant of the medial gastrocnemius muscle. Provocative CTA protocols can help to guide the location of muscle debulking to alleviate the functional entrapment that occurs in these athletes with exercise. This technique is a viable option in athletes with FPAES looking to return to competitive athletics.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jvs.2019.01.068
View details for PubMedID 31327599