open access

Vol 68, No 4 (2009)
REVIEW ARTICLES
Published online: 2009-11-26
Submitted: 2012-02-06
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Persistent median artery in the carpal tunnel: anatomy, embryology, clinical significance, and review of the literature

K. Natsis, G. Iordache, I. Gigis, A. Kyriazidou, N. Lazaridis, G. Noussios, G. Paraskevas
Folia Morphol 2009;68(4):193-200.

open access

Vol 68, No 4 (2009)
REVIEW ARTICLES
Published online: 2009-11-26
Submitted: 2012-02-06

Abstract

The median artery usually regresses after the eighth week of intrauterine life, but in some cases it persists into adulthood. The persistent median artery (PMA) passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, accompanying the median nerve. During anatomical dissection in our department, we found two unilateral cases of PMA originating from the ulnar artery. In both cases the PMA passed through the carpal tunnel, reached the palm, and anastomosed with the ulnar artery, forming a medio-ulnar type of superficial palmar arch. In addition, in both cases we observed a high division of the median nerve before entering the carpal tunnel. Such an artery may result in several complications such as carpal tunnel syndrome, pronator syndrome, or compression of the anterior interosseous nerve. Therefore, the presence of a PMA should be taken into consideration in clinical practice. This study presents two cases of PMA along with an embryological explanation, analysis of its clinical significance, and a review of the literature. The review of the literature includes cases observed during surgical procedures or anatomical dissections. Cases observed by means of imaging techniques were not included in the study.

Abstract

The median artery usually regresses after the eighth week of intrauterine life, but in some cases it persists into adulthood. The persistent median artery (PMA) passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, accompanying the median nerve. During anatomical dissection in our department, we found two unilateral cases of PMA originating from the ulnar artery. In both cases the PMA passed through the carpal tunnel, reached the palm, and anastomosed with the ulnar artery, forming a medio-ulnar type of superficial palmar arch. In addition, in both cases we observed a high division of the median nerve before entering the carpal tunnel. Such an artery may result in several complications such as carpal tunnel syndrome, pronator syndrome, or compression of the anterior interosseous nerve. Therefore, the presence of a PMA should be taken into consideration in clinical practice. This study presents two cases of PMA along with an embryological explanation, analysis of its clinical significance, and a review of the literature. The review of the literature includes cases observed during surgical procedures or anatomical dissections. Cases observed by means of imaging techniques were not included in the study.
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Keywords

superficial palmar arch; carpal tunnel syndrome; ulnar artery

About this article
Title

Persistent median artery in the carpal tunnel: anatomy, embryology, clinical significance, and review of the literature

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 68, No 4 (2009)

Pages

193-200

Published online

2009-11-26

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2009;68(4):193-200.

Keywords

superficial palmar arch
carpal tunnel syndrome
ulnar artery

Authors

K. Natsis
G. Iordache
I. Gigis
A. Kyriazidou
N. Lazaridis
G. Noussios
G. Paraskevas

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