Anatomy of neurovascular structures around the carpal tunnel during dynamic wrist motion for endoscopic carpal tunnel release

Taek Hong Jae, Won Lee Sang, Ho Han Seung, Chul Son Byung, Hoon Sung Jae, Keun Park Choon, Kun Park Chun, Ki Kang Joon, Chan Kim Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to investigate the anatomic relationship between neurovascular structures and the transverse carpal ligament (TCL) so as to avoid complications during an endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure. METHODS: Fresh cadaver hands from seven men and 12 women (age range, 48-74 yr) were used. The neurovascular structures just over and under the TCL were meticulously dissected under loupe magnification. Several anatomic landmarks were calculated (average length of the TCL; average distance between the TCL distal margin and the neurovascular structures; and average lengths of the superficial palmar arch, ramus communicantes, recurrent motor branch, and palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve). The ulnar neurovascular structure was studied with the wrist positioned in neutral, ulnar flexion, and radial flexion. RESULTS: The anatomic relationships between the TCL and vascular and neural structures were measured. The ulnar neurovascular structures usually passed just over ulnar to the superior portion of the hook of the hamate. However, in 11 hands, a looped ulnar artery coursed 1 to 4 mm radial to the hook of the hamate and continued to the superficial palmar arch. The looped ulnar artery migrates on the ulnar side of Guyon's canal (-2-2 mm radial to the hook of the hamate) with the wrist in radial flexion (of the wrist). During ulnar flexion of the wrist, the ulnar artery shifts more radially beyond the hook of the hamate (2-7 mm). CONCLUSION: It is appropriate to transect the ligament over 4 mm apart from the lateral margin of the hook of the hamate without placing the edge of the scalpel toward the ulnar side. We would also recommend not transecting the TCL in the ulnar flexed wrist position to protect the ulnar neurovascular structure. The proximal portal could be made just ulnar to the palmaris longus tendon to spare the neurovascular structures in the proximal portion of the TCL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ONS-127-ONS-132
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Feb 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of Hebei province of China (No. H2018206180). There was no additional external funding received for this study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Neurovascular anatomy
  • Wrist position


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