Popliteal Entrapment Syndrome: Diagnostic, Surgical Management, and Short-Term Results of a Ten-Year Experience


      Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES) is a rare cause of lower limb claudication in young sportsperson without cardiovascular risk factor. We reported our diagnostic approach, surgical management, and short-term outcomes of this syndrome, over a 10-year period.


      Sportsperson with intermittent claudication systematically received color duplex ultrasonography with dynamic maneuvers in the sport medicine department. In case of PAES suspicion, diagnosis was confirmed by dynamic computed tomography or dynamic magnetic resonance angiography. Each patient was then evaluated by a vascular surgeon and surgery was performed. We retrospectively screened patients who underwent PAES surgery between 2010 and 2020 in the Department of Surgery in Angers University Hospital.


      Between January 2010 and December 2020, 38 patients with 67 symptomatic legs underwent surgery for PAES. Twenty three (60.5%) were men. The mean age at the time of surgery was 24.7 +/− 9 years. Clinical presentation was bilateral in 30 patients (81.1%). Duplex ultrasound demonstrated severe stenosis or occlusion in 45 legs (77%). When performed, CT-scan demonstrated popliteal artery compression in all cases (100%). As per Whelan and Rich classification, 36 patients (94.7%) had type 6 PAES. There was no mortality or severe complication after surgery. Morbidity included 4 postoperative hematoma (6%) and 8 prolonged healing (13%). The mean time of follow-up was 2.3 months +/− 1.2 months. After surgery, D-scan showed no signs of remaining popliteal artery compression in 92.5% of the case. Twelve patients (33.3%) were able to resume sport, 18 (50%) partially, and 6 (16.6%) did not resume sport yet.


      We report a cohort of 38 patients who underwent surgery for PAES. Among them, 36 (94.7%) were functional PAES. Morbidity included 13% of prolonged healing. Two months follow-up demonstrated good results at dynamic D-scan without signs of remaining popliteal artery compression in 92.5% of the cases. These short-term results showed that one-third of patients were able to resume sport activity at an initial level
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