, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 420-430
Date: 25 Nov 2005

Extra- and intramuscular nerve supply of the muscles of the anterior antebrachial compartment: applications for selective neurotomy and for botulinum toxin injection

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Hypertonia of the upper limb due to spasticity causes pronation of the forearm and flexion of wrist and fingers. Nowadays this spasticity is often treated with injections of botulinum toxin and sometimes with selective fascicular neurotomy. To correctly perform this microsurgical technique, it is necessary to get precise knowledge of the extramuscular nerve branching in order to be better able to select the motor branches which supply the muscles involved in spasticity. The same knowledge is required for botulinum toxin injections which must be made as near as possible to the zones where intramuscular nerve endings are the densest, which is also where neuromuscular junctions are the most numerous. Thus, it is necessary to better know these zones, but their knowledge remains today imprecise. The muscles of the anterior compartment of 30 forearms were dissected, first macroscopically, then microscopically, to study the extra- and intramuscular nerve supply and the distribution of terminal nerve ramifications. The results were then linked to surface topographical landmarks to indicate the precise location of motor branches for each muscle with the aim of proposing appropriate surgical approaches for selective neurotomies. Then for each muscle, the zones with the highest density of nerve endings were divided into segments, thus determining the optimal zones for botulinim toxin injections.