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J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Dec;33(10):1860-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.07.012.

Multislice computed tomography angiography of the fourth dorsal interosseous space in cadavers.

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



To study computed tomography angiography (CTA) findings and compare anatomic correlation of the 4th dorsal metacarpal spaces and to determine the role of this technique for anatomic studies and flap design.


Hands from 17 cadavers were injected with a radiopaque mixture. The specimens were imaged using 16-detector-row computed tomography. Each image was analyzed by a radiologist, a plastic surgeon, and an anatomist. The following data were recorded: the presence of the 4th dorsal metacarpal artery, proximal and distal communicating branches and distal recurrent branch, and the number of cutaneous perforators. Afterwards, a meticulous dissection was carried out. A correlation between the radiologic findings and the gross anatomy was established.


In all specimens, the 4th dorsal metacarpal artery and distal recurrent branch were identified. In 15 cases, at least 1 perforator was identified within the 4th space. In 2 cases, no perforator was identified. In all cases, the radiologic findings correlated with the anatomic findings in the dissection.


Multislice CTA provides good-quality information about the vascular anatomy of the dorsal aspect of the hand, including perforator vessels less than 0.5 mm in diameter. Multislice CTA allows for observation of the axis, trajectory, and branching pattern of the blood vessels and, most importantly, demonstrates the anatomic relationships among blood vessels, bones, and soft tissue.

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