Background: Tendon transfers are essential for reconstruction of hand function in tetraplegic patients. To transfer the extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL), the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) has to be sufficiently strong. However, there is currently no reliable clinical test to individually analyse both muscles. In order to develop a reliable preoperative clinical test, the anatomy of the muscle (innervation) areas of ECRB, ECRL and brachio-radialis (BR) was examined. Methods: In 20 arms, the ECRB, ECRL and BR were dissected and localised. Subsequently, muscle-innervation points were mapped and categorised. A novel method, computer-assisted surgical anatomy mapping (CASAM), was used to visualise muscle areas and innervation points in a computed arm with average dimensions. Results: For both ECRL and ECRB a 100% area could be identified, a specific area in the computed average arm in which the muscle was present for all 20 arms. For the ECRL, this area was situated at 16% of the distance between the lateral epicondyle and the deltoid muscle insertion. The ECRB 100% area was 5 times bigger than that of the ECRL and was located at 40% of the distance between the lateral epicondyle and the radial styloid process. The ECRL and BR showed one to three innervation points, the ECRB one to four. In 47% of the cases, there was a combined nerve branch innervating both the ECRL and the ECRB. Conclusions: It is feasible to develop a preoperative test; the 100% areas can be used for needle electromyography (EMG) or local anaesthetic muscle injections.

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Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery
Department of Neuroscience

Kerver, A.L.A, Carati, L, Eilers, P.H.C, Langezaal, A.C, Kleinrensink, G.J, & Walbeehm, E.T. (2013). An anatomical study of the ECRL and ECRB: Feasibility of developing a preoperative test for evaluating the strength of the individual wrist extensors. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 66(4), 543–550. doi:10.1016/j.bjps.2012.12.015