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Sarkar A, Dutta S, Bal K, Biswas J
Correspondence: Dr Aniruddha Sarkar, email@example.com
Introduction The superficial and deep palmar arterial arches are the main sources of blood supply to all structures in the human hand, and variations in these arterial arches are quite common. Although several studies have reported diameters and variations of these arches, to the authors’ knowledge, no study has correlated such changes to handedness in adults. It is likely that dominance may play a role in arterial variations, such as those seen in the diameter or number of arteries formed in the palmar arches, much like in other areas of the human body. This cadaver study was conducted to determine any such association.
Methods 42 formalin-fixed hands were dissected to expose the superficial and deep palmar arches. These arches were then thoroughly examined for any variations between the dominant and non-dominant hands. All cadavers were noted to be right-handed as per hospital records.
Results 19 complete superficial arterial arches (right hand 14; left hand 5) were found in the 42 hands dissected.
Conclusion Most complete superficial palmar arches were found in the dominant hand of the cadavers studied, and therefore, handedness may have a role to play in determining palmar arterial arch variations in humans. Due to dominance or handedness, some arteries may likely persist into adulthood while others may become obliterated, thus leading to variations. Dissection of foetal hands may help to shed more light on the persistence or obliteration of various arteries after birth. Knowledge of such variations may prove helpful for surgeons during hand surgeries.
Keywords: handedness, palmar arches, variations
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(6): 409–412