An Accessory Muscle of the Posterior Compartment of Leg of Clinical Significance: A Cadaveric Case Report

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J. Maggard; T. Zarbock & M. Jorgensen


Accessory and anomalous muscles are common in humans, although their unique morphologic characteristics can make accurate identification difficult. In this case report, we attempt to identify an anomalous accessory muscle of the posterior compartment of the leg [Compartimentum posterius cruris] detected during cadaveric dissection and discuss its clinical significance. The muscle was found on the right lower limb of an 81-year-old female cadaver and extended from the distal femur to attach to the gastrocnemius muscle at the point where the medial and lateral heads fuse. At its origin, the muscle was found lateral to the popliteal vessels and crossed posterior to these vessels and tibial nerve. It displayed characteristics similar to both an accessory plantaris muscle and gastrocnemius tertius, thus making its ultimate identification difficult. Though the muscle displayed a morphologically similar appearance to the plantaris, we suggest that its common insertion with the gastrocnemius best identifies it as a gastrocnemius tertius. In addition, due to its relationship with the popliteal neurovasculature, it is possible that this muscle could have resulted in neurovascular entrapment although it is unknown whether or not this cadaver exhibited symptoms.

KEY WORDS: Human gastrocnemius tertius; Accessory head of gastrocnemius; Plantaris; Accessory plantaris.

How to cite this article

MAGGARD, J.; ZARBOCK, T. & JORGENSEN, M. An accessory muscle of the posterior compartment of leg of clinical significance: A cadaveric case report. Int. J. Morphol., 39(4):1054-1057, 2021.