DOI: 10.5176/2345-7201_1.2.25

Authors:  Salgado L S S, Hasan R, Perera A A M M S L, Wijesundara W M R D, Anuradha W K


The blood supply of the hand is a complex and challenging area of study. The clinical importance of this area lies in the significant number of surgical procedures such as radial artery conduits in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), radial arterial cannulation and reconstructive surgery of the hand. Anatomical variations in the typical blood supply of the hand are common and are an area of extensive research.
This descriptive study was carried out in the dissecting theatres at the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya on dissections carried out on 25 cadaveric hands.
From the superficial palmar arches studied the following results were obtained. 88{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} were complete while 22{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} were incomplete. Specimens with contribution from both the radial and the ulnar arteries for the superficial palmar arches were 80{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465}, while specimens with the contribution solely from the ulnar artery were 12{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465}. 8{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} hands studied had contributions from the radial, ulnar and the median arteries. Three branches of the radial artery contribute to complete the superficial palmar arch. Of this 60{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} cadavers had the major contribution from the superficial palmar branch of the radial artery, 24{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} from the arteria princeps pollicis, and 16{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} from the first dorsal metacarpal artery. The contribution to the arterial supply of the radial side of the thumb was from the superficial palmar branch of radial artery in 80{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} of the cadavers while in 20{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} the contribution was from the arteria princeps pollicis. The contribution to the arterial supply of the ulnar side of the thumb was from the proper palmar digital artery arising from the superficial palmar arch in 44{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} hands and the contribution in 32{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} hands was from the arteria princeps pollicis while the contribution in 24{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} hands was from the first dorsal metacarpal artery.
It is thus evident that significant anatomical variations of the superficial palmar arch exist in the Sri Lankan population. The arterial supply of the thumb also had significant changes compared to the descriptions given in standard text books.

Keywords: superficial palmar arch; thumb; arterial supply

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