Anatomic Study of the Abductor Pollicis Longus: A Source for Grafting Material in the Hand

Author(s): Bravo E, Barco R and Bullon A

Source: Clin Orthop 468 1305-9, 2010.

This paper describes using the accessory abductor pollicis longus (AAPL) tendon as grafting material.  Anatomic dissections on 78 cadaveric upper limbs isolated the number of tendons in the first dorsal compartment of the hand, the number of muscle bellies, their innervation, their insertion site, and the tendon dimensions.  They also tried to determine whether the AAPL can be considered a true tendon.

The AAPL was present in 85% of hands. Average length, width, and thickness (in millimeters) of the APL were of 69, 5.2, and 2.1 mm, respectively versus an average length, width, and thickness of 69, 3.3, and 1.6 mm, respectively in the AAPL.  Therefore, there were no significant differences in dimension of the tendons found between the APL and the AAPL. For this reason, the authors determine that this tendon should be referred to as an accessory APL rather than a “slip” of the APL.  Also with these dimensions in mind, they conclude that the AAPL can be a suitable source of local grafting material in the hand.