Absence of the musculocutaneous nerve with innervation of coracobrachialis, biceps brachii, brachialis and the lateral border of the forearm by branches from the lateral cord of the brachial plexus


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Anomalies of the brachial plexus and its terminal branches are not uncommon. Variations in the course and branches of the musculocutaneous nerve have been noted (Clemente, 1985; Bergman et al. 1988) and its absence was reported by Le Minor (1990). Several anomalies were present in the left plexus of a 59-y-old Japanese man (Fig.). There were no anterior and posterior divisions of the middle trunk, although there were communications between the posterior, medial and lateral cords. The musculocutaneous nerve was absent (Le Minor, 1990) and the medial and lateral roots of the median nerve did not unite in the axillary fossa but in the upper arm about 5 cm distal to the lower border of latissimus dorsi (Adachi, 1928; Buch-Hansen, 1955). The hitherto unreported findings were branches arising directly from the lateral cord to supply coracobrachialis, both heads of biceps brachii and brachialis. The lateral cutaneous nerve of the forearm was derived from the lateral cord with a small contribution from the medial root of the median nerve. Since there were communications between the posterior cord (a continuation of the middle trunk) and the medial and lateral cords, it is theoretically possibly, but not proven, that the root values of branches innervating the flexor muscles of the arm and forearm and the skin of lateral border of the forearm were normal.