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J Hand Surg Am. 2007 Feb;32(2):246-51.

Cutaneous perforators of the fourth dorsal interosseous space: anatomic study.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain.



Many investigators have studied the vascular anatomy of the dorsal metacarpal arteries but little attention has been paid to the exact distribution of the cutaneous perforators of the dorsum of the hand. We present an anatomic study of the cutaneous perforators within the fourth dorsal interosseous space, which was supposed to have the most inconsistent vascular anatomy.


Twenty hands were dissected after black latex injection. A skin paddle was outlined along the fourth dorsal metacarpal space. Suprafascial dissection was performed, preserving any vessel piercing the fascia and reaching the skin. Each perforator was traced back to its origin. The location and origin of each perforator was recorded by digital pictures and measured from a reference point.


In 17 of the cases (85%) at least 1 perforator was identified within the fourth space piercing the dorsal interosseous muscle fascia and reaching the skin. In 10 hands, a perforator branching off the proximal communicating branch was identified, located a mean distance of 11 mm from the carpometacarpal joint line.


A dissectable perforator was found consistently (17 of 20; 85%) in the proximal third of the fourth dorsal interosseous space branching off the proximal communicating branch. Few perforators branch off the middle third of the dorsal metacarpal artery. The perforator described herein shows the connection between the superficial and deep vascular systems of the ring and small metacarpal spaces, and establishes the anatomic basis for reconstructive flaps.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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