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Microanatomical and immunohistochemical study of the human lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve of forearm at the antecubital fossa and its clinical implications

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Abstract

Changes in the intraneural anatomy with age can cause poor prognosis of nerve repair in patients after nerve injury. The occurrence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome-Type II, secondary to peripheral nerve injury, is common. The purpose of this study is to asses changes in cross-sectional anatomy of the lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve of forearm (LCNF) at the antecubital fossa in the fascicular, nonfascicular components (adipose and nonadipose tissue), and sympathetic fibers area with respect to age. For the purpose of the study, 32 human (37–88 years) fresh cadaveric LCNF were collected from left-antecubital fossae and processed for histological, morphometric analysis [total cross-sectional (Asc), fascicular (Af), and nonfascicular area (Anonf)], and immunohistochemical method (tyrosine hydroxylase) for sympathetic fibers. The LCNF's average total cross-sectional area was 3.024 mm2, and fascicular area was 0.582 mm2. The average number of fascicles per mm2 was 3.09. The cross-sectional area in the nerve was mainly occupied by nonfascicular connective tissue (80.75%). There was increased adipose tissue deposition (48.48% of Asc) and decreased collagen fibers (32.24% of Asc) in interfascicular domains without any definite relationship with age. The average sympathetic fiber area was 0.026 mm2 within the nerve fascicular area without any correlation with age. In LCNF, there was more adipose tissue and less collagen fibers deposition in the interfascicular domains of all age cases, and this may act as an obstacle for nerve fiber regeneration on using LCNF as an interpositional nerve graft. Clin. Anat. 23:693–701, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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