Document Detail

Ulnar nerve innervation of the triceps muscle: real or apparent? An anatomic study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23283677     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Since the 18th century, the existence of ulnar nerve innervation of the medial head of the triceps brachii muscle has been controversial. The evidence for or against such innervation has been based on macroscopic dissection, an unsuitable method for studying intraneural topography or intramuscular branching. The study of smaller specimens (embryos or fetuses) by means of serial histologic sections may resolve the controversy.
QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: Using fetal specimens and histology we determined the contributions of the ulnar and radial nerves to innervation of the triceps brachii muscle.
METHODS: We histologically examined 15 embryonic and fetal arms. Radial nerve branches obtained from six adult arms were analyzed immunohistochemically to determine motor fiber content.
RESULTS: The medial head of the triceps brachii muscle was always innervated by the radial nerve (ulnar collateral branch). The branches seeming to leave the ulnar nerve at elbow level were the continuation of the radial nerve that had joined the ulnar nerve sheath via a connection in the axillary region. Immunohistochemistry revealed motor and nonmotor fibers in this radial nerve branch.
CONCLUSIONS: A connection between the radial and ulnar nerves sometimes may exist, resulting in an apparent ulnar nerve origin of muscular branches to the medial head of the triceps, even though in all our specimens the fibers could be traced back to the radial nerve.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Before performing or suggesting new muscle and nerve transpositions using this apparent ulnar innervation, the real origin should be confirmed to avoid failure.
Aran Pascual-Font; Teresa Vazquez; Fernando Marco; Jose R Sañudo; Marc Rodriguez-Niedenführ
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2013-01-03
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical orthopaedics and related research     Volume:  471     ISSN:  1528-1132     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin. Orthop. Relat. Res.     Publication Date:  2013 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-05-02     Completed Date:  2013-06-25     Revised Date:  2014-06-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0075674     Medline TA:  Clin Orthop Relat Res     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1887-93     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
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MeSH Terms
Arm / anatomy & histology*
Biological Markers / metabolism
Embryo, Mammalian / embryology*
Fetus / embryology*
Gestational Age
Muscle, Skeletal / embryology,  innervation*
Radial Nerve / anatomy & histology,  metabolism
Ulnar Nerve / embryology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biological Markers

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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