Superficial palmar arch: an arterial diameter study.
Although anatomical variations in the arterial pattern of the hand have been the subject of many studies, information on the diameter of the superficial palmar arch contributing vessels and its branches are rarely found in the literature. The objective of the current study was to evaluate these arterial variations, with special attention to the diameter of the superficial palmar arch contributing vessels and its major branches. Forty-six hands from male embalmed human cadavers were evaluated, 21 right hands and 25 left hands. Complete arches were present in 43% on the right and in 52% on the left. Arches were completed by the median artery in two cases. Variations were more common at the radial side of the arch and on left hands. Comparison of vessel diameters revealed the radial artery to be significantly larger than the ulnar artery but the ulnar artery to be larger than the superficial branch of the radial artery. The diameters of the common digital arteries were not different with regard to complete or incomplete arches, or with regard to the presence of the median artery.