Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 468, Issue 5, pp 1305–1309 | Cite as

Anatomic Study of the Abductor Pollicis Longus: A Source for Grafting Material of the Hand

  • Elena Bravo
  • Raul Barco
  • Adrian Bullón
Clinical Research


Interposition grafting material is used frequently to treat osteoarthritis of the base of the thumb or tendinous and ligamentous injuries of the hand. The observation of duplicated tendons in the first dorsal compartment of the hand prompted us to explore the possibility of using the accessory abductor pollicis longus (AAPL) tendon as grafting material. Based on dissections of 78 cadaveric upper limbs, we describe the number of tendons in the first dorsal compartment of the hand, the number of muscle bellies, their innervation, their insertion site, and the tendon dimensions to determine whether the AAPL can be considered a true tendon. The AAPL was present in 85% of the hands. Average length, width, and thickness (in millimeters) of the APL were of 69.3, 5.2, and 2.1, respectively. Average length, width, and thickness (in millimeters) of the AAPL were of 69.2, 3.3, and 1.6, respectively. No differences in dimension of the tendons were found between the APL and the AAPL. The dimensions of the tendinous portion of the AAPL are similar to those of the APL and can be considered a true tendon. When present, the AAPL is a suitable source of local grafting material.


Muscle Belly Flexor Carpus Radialis Thenar Muscle Flexor Carpus Radialis Abductor Pollicis Longus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr. C. Avendaño, Head Professor of NeuroAnatomy at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, for facilitating and providing the specimens subject of this study and Dr. J. R. Sañudo, Appointed Professor of Human Anatomy at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, for his generosity in providing some of the specimens and selected medical references of difficult location.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plastic Surgery DepartmentHospital La PazMadridSpain
  2. 2.Orthopedic Surgery DepartmentHospital La PazMadridSpain

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