Palmaris profundus: One name, several subtypes, and a shared potential for nerve compression

Elena Pirola, Marie Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Nelly Amador, Kimberly K. Amrami, Robert J. Spinner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The palmaris profundus is a rare, but known anatomic variation which may lead to compression of the median nerve and/or its branches. Two patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are presented in whom a palmaris profundus was discovered at operation. In these cases, median nerve compression at the wrist was attributed to the course of the extra tendon and its local mass effect on the nerve (i.e., the palmaris profundus and median nerve shared a common sheath); more commonly, the resultant decreased available space for the median nerve within the carpal tunnel due to the presence of an accessory (10th) flexor tendon is thought to be responsible. Postoperative 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed to demonstrate the full course of the variant muscle; despite variations in the size and longitudinal extent of the accessory musculotendinous unit, an important similarity was noted: the intimate relationship of the median nerve and the palmaris profundus. These two cases and our review of the literature highlight the fact that one name (i.e. palmaris profundus) reflects several anatomic subtypes. However, the close relationship of the palmaris profundus with the median nerve in the forearm and the palm is a common theme which emphasizes the potential pathoanatomic consequences of this relationship: nerve compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-648
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009


  • Anatomic variation
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Median nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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