European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 24 - Number 4
Eur J Anat, 24 (4): 289-291 (2020)

Case report on the cadaveric discovery of a unilaterally absent medial head of the gastrocnemius

Nicole Fontenot1, Jonathan Kouts1, Jason Bourke2

1Class of 2022. New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State, USA2Department of Basic Sciences. New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State, USA

ABSTRACT We report on a unique instance of anatomical variation in the gastrocnemius muscle. A 91-year-old Caucasian male cadaver was found to have a missing medial head of his left gastrocnemius. A layer of fibrous, fatty infiltration occupied the ana-tomical location of the missing musculature. Dis-section revealed no evidence of atrophy as a result of damage to nervous tissue, blood supply or mus-cle tissue death. There was no evidence of sarco-penia. No hypertrophy of the left-side-lateral head was documented when compared to the contrala-teral lower leg. There were no reports of a known defect in the musculature in the patient’s medical history. Upon superficial inspection, the extensive amount of body fat on the cadaver hid any signs of an external deformity on the leg prior to dissection. We suspect that the missing medial head was compensated for via reliance on more motor unit recruitment from the underlying soleus, as well as potential behavioural adjustments of the patient.

Keywords: Gastrocnemius – Medial gastrocnemi-us – Lateral gastrocnemius – Muscle atrophy

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)