Scientific Articles   |    
Brachialis Muscle AnatomyA Study in Cadavers
Domenic T. Leonello, MBBS1; Ian J. Galley, MBchB2; Gregory I. Bain, MBBS, FRACS(Orth)3; Christopher D. Carter, MBBS4
1 302/211 Grenfell Street, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
2 Tauranga Hospital, Cameron Road, Private Bag 1204, Tauranga, New Zealand
3 196 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia. E-mail address: greg@gregbain.com.au
4 Level 1, 178 Fullarton Road, Dulwich SA 5065, Australia
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Jun 01;89(6):1293-1297. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00343
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Background: There have been conflicting descriptions of brachialis muscle anatomy in the literature. The purpose of the present study was to clarify brachialis muscle anatomy in order to refine surgical techniques around the elbow.

Methods: Eleven cadaveric upper limbs were dissected under loupe magnification. The gross morphological characteristics, relationships, and nerve supply of the brachialis muscle were recorded. The nerve supply was examined histologically to confirm the gross findings.

Results: In all specimens, the brachialis muscle had two heads. The larger, superficial head originated from the anterolateral aspect of the humerus, proximal to the smaller, deep head. The superficial head contained longitudinal fibers, which inserted by means of a thick round tendon onto the ulnar tuberosity. The deep head fibers were fan-shaped and converged to insert by means of an aponeurosis onto the coronoid process. In all specimens, a branch of the radial nerve supplied the inferolateral fibers of the deep head.

Conclusions: Our observations of brachialis muscle anatomy differ considerably from the descriptions in the current literature. The larger, superficial head has the mechanical advantage of a more proximal origin and a more distal insertion, which may enable it to provide the bulk of flexion strength. The smaller, oblique, deep head has a more anterior insertion on the coronoid, which may facilitate the initiation of elbow flexion from full extension. The radial nerve-innervated inferolateral fibers of the deep head run in a direction similar to the anconeus muscle, forming a muscular sling around the elbow. This complex may act to dynamically stabilize the ulnohumeral joint.

Clinical Relevance: This information may enhance surgical techniques about the elbow. The identification of an internervous plane may allow for improvement in the current anterior and anterolateral surgical approaches to the humerus. The tendon of the superficial head is well positioned to allow its transfer to the radial tuberosity, potentially improving supination strength in the absence of a distal biceps tendon. It is possible that the tendon of the superficial head might also be used to reconstruct the anular ligament or the medial collateral ligament of the elbow.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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