Vol 74, No 4 (2015)
Original article
Published online: 2015-11-27

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Separate muscle bundles of the flexor digitorum superficialis overlying the ulnar nerve

D.-K. Han, H.-S. Won, H.-F. Liu, I.-H. Chung, I.-B. Kim
DOI: 10.5603/FM.2015.0104
Pubmed: 26620502
Folia Morphol 2015;74(4):434-438.

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to elucidate the morphological charac­teristics of the muscle bundles of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) attached to the intermuscular aponeurosis (IMA) and any related structure that could potentially compress the ulnar nerve.

Materials and methods: Fifty embalmed limbs of 34 adult cadavers were studied.

Results: The FDS arose as multiple separate bundles from the IMA of the lateral surface of the flexor carpi ulnaris in 76% of specimens. Below their origin, these separate bundles became attached continuously as a single mass to form the muscle belly. There were 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 arising FDS muscle bundles in 28%, 30%, 4%, 10% and 4% of specimens, respectively. The muscle bundles were attached either only superficially (24% of cases) or across the entire width (20% of cases) of the IMA. In 32% of the specimens, bundles arose from the IMA in a combined fashion, being attached to the IMA superficially, deep and across the entire structure. The muscle bundles that arose from the deep part or entire width of the IMA were in contact with the ulnar nerve in 52% of specimens. In 11 (22%) specimens, the deep borders of the lowest muscle bundles close to the ulnar nerve were composed of tendinous fibres that divided from the IMA of the lateral surface of the flexor carpi ulnaris. The distance from the medial epicondyle to the lowest point of the FDS arising from the IMA was 62.0 ± 19.7 mm.

Conclusions: The thick tendinous deep border of the lowest muscle bundle of the FDS where it attaches to the IMA is a potential cause of ulnar nerve compression.