Motor nerve lengths of twenty-seven muscles in upper extremity

Simel Kendir, Tülin Şen, Tüzün Firat, A. Gürsel Leblebicioǧlu, Tolga Türker, Ibrahim Tekdemir, Alaittin Elhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to determine the lengths of motor nerves in the upper extremity. Motor nerves of 27 muscles in 10 cadavers (16 extremities) were dissected from their roots at the level of intervertebral foramen to the entry point of the nerves to the corresponding muscles. Distance between acromion and the lateral epicondyle of the humerus was also measured in all cadavers. Nerve length of the coracobrachialis muscle was the shortest (18.26 ± 1.64 cm), while the longest was the nerve of the extensor indicis (59.51 ± 4.80 cm). The biceps brachii, the extensor digitorum communis, and the brachialis muscles showed highest coefficient of variation that makes these nerve lengths of muscles inconsistent about their lengths. This study also offers quotients using division of the lengths of each nerve to acromion-the lateral epicondyle distance. Knowledge of the nerve lengths in the upper extremity may provide a better understanding the reinnervation sequence and the recovery time in the multilevel injuries such as brachial plexus lesions. Quotients may be used to estimate average lengths of nerves of upper extremity in infants and children. Moreover, reliability of the biceps brachii as a determinant factor for surgery in obstetrical brachial plexus lesions should be reconsidered due to its highest variation coefficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • biceps brachii
  • brachial plexus
  • nerve length
  • upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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