Elliptical morphology of the carpal tunnel cross section

Joseph N. Gabra, Dong Hee Kim, Zong Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although the carpal tunnel is known for its anatomical constituents, its morphology is not well recognized. The aim of this study was to investigate the morphometric properties of the carpal tunnel and its surrounding structures. Magnetic resonance and cross-sectional images of the distal carpal tunnel were collected from eight cadaveric hands. Morphological analyses were performed for the cross sections of the carpal tunnel, interior carpus boundary, and exterior carpus boundary. The specimens had a carpal arch width and height of 23.9 ± 2.9 mm and 2.2 ± 0.9 mm, respectively. The carpal tunnel, interior carpus boundary, and exterior carpus boundary had perimeters of 54.8 ± 4.5 mm, 68.5 ± 7.0 mm, and 130.6 ± 11.8 mm, respectively, and areas of 183.5 ± 30.1 mm2, 240.7 ± 40.2 mm2, and 1002.3 ± 183.7 mm2, respectively. The cross sections were characterized by elliptical fitting with aspect ratios of 1.96 ± 0.15, 1.96 ± 0.19, and 1.76 ± 0.19 for the carpal tunnel, interior carpus boundary, and exterior carpus boundary, respectively. The major axis of the boundaries increased in pronation angle, relative to the hamatetrapezium axis, for the exterior carpus (6.0 ± 3.0°), interior carpus (8.2 ± 3.2°), and carpal tunnel (15.9 ± 2.2°). This study advances our understanding of the structural anatomy of the carpal tunnel, and the morphological information is valuable in the identification of structural abnormality, assistance of surgical planning, and evaluation of treatment of effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Carpal tunnel
  • Carpus
  • Morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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