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Clin Anat. 1996;9(6):371-5.

A variation in the organization of abductor pollicis longus.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Rangos School of Health Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282, USA.


The abductor pollicis longus (APL) muscle has been studied bilaterally in 50 cadavers. A variation in the organization of the muscle was found bilaterally in 15 of the 50 specimens. The novel muscular arrangement gives the appearance of being an additional muscle belly arising from the lateral aspect of the distal portion of the typical abductor pollicis longus muscle belly. This variation in the arrangement also creates a retinacular-like tunnel which encases the tendons of the extensor carpi radialis longus and the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscles. To the authors' knowledge, this arrangement has not been cited in the recent medical literature. An understanding of this unusual finding may be clinically relevant in describing the dorso-lateral compartment of the distal forearm.

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