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eISSN: 1643-3750

An Anatomical Study of the Nutrient Foramina of the Human Humeral Diaphysis

Zichao Xue, Haoliang Ding, Chuanzhen Hu, Haitao Xu, Zhiquan An

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:1637-1645

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.898361

Available online:

Published: 2016-05-16

BACKGROUND: Understanding the nutrient foramina is critical to clinical practice. An insult to the nutrient foramina can be caused by trauma and/or surgical dissection and lead to devascularization and bad outcomes. Few studies have looked at the humerus, and no studies have described relative information of humeral nutrient foramen related to anatomical structures that might be located by palpable landmarks. In this study, we analyzed the anatomical features of the nutrient foramina of the diaphyseal humerus and provide a discussion of clinical relevance.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We dissected 19 cadavers and analyzed the relative positions of the foramina and surrounding muscles, and the number, direction, diameter, and location of the nutrient foramina. Foramina index and a new landmark index were used to calculate the location. We compared the data from both sides and the relationships between transverse and longitudinal locations, diameter and total length, and foramina index and landmark index were also analyzed.
RESULTS: The humeri had one or two main nutrient foramina located in a small area between the coracobrachialis and brachial muscles and oriented toward the elbow. The mean diameter was 1.11±0.32 mm. The mean index and landmark index were 43.76±4.94% and 42.26±5.35%, respectively. There were no differences between sides in terms of diameter, length, or nutrient foramina index. There were no significant correlations between transverse and longitudinal locations or diameter and total length. The foramina index and landmark index showed strong positive correlation (r=0.994, p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides details about the nutrient foramina that will benefit clinicians who treat injuries and diseases of the humerus. Surgeons should be mindful of soft tissue in the foraminal area during surgical procedures.

Keywords: Arteries - physiology, Adult, Cadaver, Diaphyses - physiology, Female, Haversian System - physiology, Humans, Humerus - physiology, Male