Anatomical variations of the superficial palmar arch in human fetuses

Anat Sci Int. 2023 Jan;98(1):123-135. doi: 10.1007/s12565-022-00679-2. Epub 2022 Aug 4.


The superficial palmar arch is an important anatomical structure that contributes to the arterial supply of the palmar side of the hand in the upper extremity. However, there is limited information on the embryological morphological structure of the superficial palmar arch in the literature. We studied the types of the superficial palmar arch and determined their variations by dissecting 80 upper extremities of 40 formalin-fixed human fetuses (19 males, 21 females) 18-37 weeks of age. The types and variations of the superficial palmar arch were examined, and the median artery was imaged. The superficial palmar arch type was complete in 58 hands (72.5%) and incomplete in 22 hands (27.5%). The complete group consisted of type A (47.5%), type B (16.25%), type C (3.75%), type D (1.25%), and type E (3.75%). On the other hand, the incomplete group consisted of type F (15%), type G (8.75%), type H (2.5%), and type I (1.25%). A median artery that originated from the ulnar artery and passed through the carpal tunnel during its course was detected in two hands (2.5%). Knowledge of the superficial palmar arch variations will contribute to hand microsurgery particularly in vascular graft and free flap application interventions for arterial bleeding in the palmar region.

Keywords: Anatomic variation; Dissection; Fetus; Median artery; Superficial palmar arch.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ulnar Artery* / anatomy & histology
  • Upper Extremity* / blood supply


  • Formaldehyde