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Surg Radiol Anat. 2008 Feb;30(1):57-63. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Large patent median arteries and their relation to the superficial palmar arch with respect to history, size consideration and clinic consequences.

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Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, Grosse Steinstrasse 52, 06097 Halle (Saale), Germany.



A large patent median artery can be involved in several clinical disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, anterior interosseous nerve syndrome and pronator syndrome.


The frequency and variability in the expression of the median artery and the expression of the other forearm arteries were recorded during two dissection courses. The topography of the arteries with their ramifications was documented on diagrams and photographs. The outer diameters of forearm arteries were measured.


A large median artery was found in 4 of 54 arms (7.4%). The median arteries took their origin from the ulnar artery or the common interosseous artery. In one case, the median artery pierced the median nerve in its course under the pronator teres. The outer diameters of the median arteries varied between 1.5 and 2.0 mm proximally and 1.5 and 2.0 mm distally. The diameters of the radial arteries varied between 3.0 and 5.5 mm proximally and 3.0 and 4.0 mm distally and were not reduced in any of the four cases with a large median artery.


Surgeons should be aware of other variations in the forearm when a persistent median artery is identified, for example high median nerve bifurcations. Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that additional structures leading to nerve compression may be present in the carpal tunnel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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