The goal of this study was to describe the intramuscular artery and nerve distribution in detail by different colors in the same whole mount gracilis muscle. Red latex injection into the external iliac artery was performed on 14 fresh human cadavers. Two weeks later, 28 gracilis muscles were harvested from the cadavers and during this course the number of the arterial pedicle of each specimen was counted. Then, the muscle specimens were fixed in 10 % formalin 4 weeks for fixation and Sihler’s staining procedures was performed on each muscle specimens. After all of the procedures, the gracilis muscle appeared almost transparent, and the extra- and intramuscular artery and nerve branches, even the terminals, were clearly demonstrated in red and dark blue separately. Two of the 28 specimens were supplied by a single main arterial pedicle alone, 14 specimens by a main arterial pedicle and an accessory pedicle, 8 specimens by a main pedicle and 2 accessory pedicles, while 4 specimens by a main arterial pedicle and 3 accessory pedicles. Although the number of the arterial pedicles was inconsistent, the intramuscular artery branches anastomosed with each other and formed a whole arterial system in all specimens. The nerve innervating the gracilis muscle divided into two or three major branches, which directed distally and innervated the distal two thirds of the muscle, while running longitudinally and parallel to the muscle fibers. We found the innervation pattern was remarkably consistent from specimen to specimen. This study provided very detailed and useful information for anatomists, physiologists and reconstructive surgeons. Furthermore, we here also provided a new method to demonstrate the intramuscular artery and nerve distribution in the same whole mount muscle by different colors for other researchers to refer to.
KEY WORDS:Intramuscular Distribution; Artery; Nerve; Gracilis Muscle.