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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Jan;467(1):235-8. doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0535-6. Epub 2008 Oct 11.

A cadaveric study of ulnar nerve innervation of the medial head of triceps brachii.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yeditepe University Hospital, Kozyataği, Istanbul, Turkey.


The presence of a separately innervated muscle unit of the triceps may have possible surgical importance and can be used for motor reconstructions. The ulnar nerve is closely situated to the triceps muscle and rarely examined above the elbow. The aim of this cadaveric study was to explore a possible contribution of the ulnar nerve to motor innervation of the medial head of the triceps. We dissected 18 limbs from axillae to midforearm. The path of the ulnar nerve was followed, and examination was conducted of attachments to the triceps. Gross photographs were taken and samples histologically stained. Seventeen limbs had ulnar nerve branches proximal to the epicondyles that inserted on the medial head. Eleven of these branches were from the ulnar nerve trunk. The other six were nerve branches from the ulnar collateral branch of the radial nerve. The ulnar nerve and the ulnar collateral branch of the radial nerve are previously unrecognized sources of innervation of the medial head of the triceps brachii. These motor branches must be carefully preserved during the medial surgical approach above the elbow. The ulnar innervated part of the medial head of the triceps muscle may be used like an independent motor unit.

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