• ABSTRACT
    • Background The purpose of the study was to provide a practical landmark for localizing the dorsal branch of the ulnar artery and nerve, to approach for microsurgical flaps, for harvesting nerve grafts and also to avoid these nerves during insertion of wrist arthroscopy portals. Material and methods Forty adult cadaveric upper limbs (20 right and 20 left) were dissected for localizing the dorsal branches of the ulnar artery and nerve. The ramification patterns of the nerve were mapped. The wrist arthroscopy portals are located radial and ulnar to the tendon of extensor carpi ulnaris at the level of the wrist joint, and their designated names are '6R & 6U', respectively. The distance of branches of the nerve from the 6U and 6R portals for wrist arthroscopy was recorded. Results The present study has delineated a¬†subcutaneous dorsomedial triangular area in the distal forearm. The construction of this triangle uses palpable landmarks, i.e. pisiform bone, styloid process and subcutaneous border of the ulna. The measure of the sides of the triangle uses proportion rather than absolute measurements and hence is person specific. The dorsal branches of the ulnar nerve and artery are consistently given off in the triangle's upper third and middle third, respectively. Four branching patterns have been mapped, with one dominant pattern in 67.5% of limbs. In three-fourths of cases, one branch of the dorsal branch of the ulnar nerve consistently overlies the 6U portal and hence runs a higher risk of injury. Conclusion The study suggests more practical, accurate, reliable and consistent surface landmarks for the localization of the dorsal branch of the ulnar artery and nerve for reconstructive microsurgery for distal hand defects.