Anatomical and Histomorphometric Study of the Ulnar Nerve at the Wrist

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Daniel Raúl Ballesteros Larrotta; Mónica Alexandra Ramírez Blanco; Angélica María Rueda Quijano; Jammes Alberto Guzmán Cruz & Luis Ernesto Ballesteros Acuña


The ulnar nerve (UN) is the main nerve responsible for innervation of the intrinsic musculature of the hand. It is of great importance to have a deep anatomical knowledge of the UN. The aim of this study is to enrich the knowledge of the UN anatomy at the wrist and provide useful reference information for clinical and surgical applications. In this descriptive cross-sectional study, 44 upper limbs of fresh cadavers were evaluated. The UN, the superficial branch of the ulnar nerve (SBUN), and the deep branch of the ulnar nerve (DBUN) were evaluated. Morphometric variables were measured using a digital caliper, and samples of nervous tissue were taken to evaluate the histomorphometry. Before entering the Guyon's canal, the UN had a diameter of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm. In 36 samples (82 %) the UN presented a bifurcation pattern and in the remaining 8 samples (18 %) a trifurcation was shown. The diameter of the DBUN was 1.9 ± 0.33 mm and that of the SBUN was 1.29 ± 0.22 mm. In the bifurcation patterns, the SBUN had a trunk of 5.71 ± 1.53 mm before bifurcating into the common digital nerve (fourth and fifth fingers) and an ulnar digital collateral nerve (fifth finger). The DBUN had an area of 2.84 ± 0.7 mm2 and was made up of 8 ± 1.4 fascicles and 3595 ± 465 axons. The SBUN area was 1.31 ± 0.27 mm2, it was made up of 6 ± 1.1 fascicles and 2856 ± 362 axons. The reported findings allow the hand surgeon to improve his understanding of the clinical signs of patients with UN pathologies at the wrist level and thus achieve greater precision while planning and performing surgical approaches and dissections.

KEY WORDS: Ulnar nerve; Wrist; Ulnar Nerve Compression Syndromes; Anatomy; Axons.

How to cite this article

BALLESTEROS, L. D. R.; RAMÍREZ, B. M. A.; RUEDA, Q. A. M.; GUZMÁN, C. J. A. & BALLESTEROS, A. L. E. Anatomical and histomorphometric study of the ulnar nerve at the wrist. Int. J. Morphol., 41(1):319-323, 2023.