Anatomy and Cell Biology Publications


Rare muscular variations identified in a single cadaveric upper limb: a four-headed biceps brachii and muscular elevator of the latissimus dorsi tendon

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Anatomical Science International



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Supernumerary or accessory heads of the biceps brachii are persistent muscular structures which can vary in number and location in the arm. Variations in other arm muscles, such as the coracobrachialis, can accompany supernumerary biceps brachii musculature in the upper limb. In this case report, we describe two rare muscular variants in a single adult male: a four-headed biceps brachii and the muscular elevator of the latissimus dorsi tendon. Additionally, accessory muscles of the brachialis and flexor digiti minimi brevis were identified in the upper limb. To our knowledge, the muscular variants identified here are considered rare, and their co-occurrence in a single upper limb has not been described previously. Also, a four-headed biceps brachii consisting of both the infero-medial and infero-lateral humeral heads has not been described previously to our knowledge. We postulate that the simultaneous appearance of several muscular variations may indicate a signaling disruption in embryogenesis during muscle patterning of the ventral limb bud. Knowledge of variant musculature in the arm is important for surgeons and clinicians as these muscles and their aberrant innervation patterns can complicate surgical procedures and may compress arteries and nerves producing upper limb pain and paresthesia. The clinical, functional and embryological implications of the upper limb variants are discussed.

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