The patterns of palmar digital artery dominance were examined in 39 fresh cadaver arms following latex injection. Correlative photoplethysmographic studies were completed in 20 hands to assess arterial blood flow characteristics. The ulnar digital artery in the index finger and the radial digital artery of the little finger were typically dominant; the associated palmar digital arteries in both digits were hypoplastic with limited contributions to perfusion. In contrast, the radial and ulnar digital arteries of the long and ring fingers were more equal in caliber with comparable blood flow characteristics.
Relatively few papers have studied the arterial system of the digits (Strauch and de Moura, JHS 15:148-54, 1990; Trager et al, JHS 18:621-25, 1993). The findings from this study are consistent with previous reports and support the logical dominance of the digital arteries in the border digits that are not most easily injured. This information is relevant in digit revascularization surgery and might influence the planning of digital island-flaps and toe transfers.
Journal of Hand Surg