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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus I: Muscular System: Alphabetical Listing of Muscles: E: Extensor Indicis Proprius

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus I: Muscular System: Alphabetical Listing of Muscles: E

Extensor Indicis Proprius

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed


The muscle of the index finger is rarely absent. The origin of the muscle may shift from the ulna to the radius, the carpus, or the interosseous membrane. Extensor indicis may blend with extensor secundii internodi pollicis (extensor pollicis longus). An unusual extensor indicis muscle has been found arising from the lunate, navicular (scaphoid) and capitate bones and terminating on the head of the proximal phalanx of the index finger. It may have two heads or the muscle may be completely doubled.

Macalister reported the variatins of extensor indicis as follows;

1. Macalister found it absent, as did Cheselden and Moser;
2. With a doubled tendon (Wood and by Macalister);
3. With a doubled muscle and tendon;
4. With a slip from the extensor digitorum communis (Wood);
5. With an origin from the radius, carpus, and interosseous ligament, and none from the ulna (Wood);
6. Macalister found a doubled tendon coexisting with an accessory slip from the common extensor;
7. It has been found inserted by fascia into the back of the hand;
8. Or into the posterior annular ligament (Moser);
9. A digastric indicator, whose second belly was on the back of the hand (Rosenmüller);
10. It may have some union with extensor medii digiti, or be inseparable from it; Meckel found it with tendons to the second, third, and fourth fingers;
11. Gantzer once saw it doubled, and one of these muscles arose from the radius.

Extensor medii digiti is often a differentiated portion of extensor indicis; arising below that muscle from the back of the ulna, it varies only in its greater or lesser amount of differentiation from its neighbor. Wood found it eleven times in a hundred and two subjects; and the same author has seen it when separate from the extensor indicis, sending an additional tendon to the index finger; in one case this coalesced with the indicator before its insertion. Wood found it arising from the intermuscular septum between the extensor communis digitorum and the supinator brevis (supinator), above the other deep muscles. It has also been seen sending a slip to be inserted partly into the indicator tendon, and partly into the middle metacarpal fascia (Petsche); Meckel found it arising from the radius, Brugnone from the carpus. Most commonly, it is only a second tendon connected with the indicator, and showing no sign of being connected with a separate belly; sometimes, this tendon is an offshoot from the indicator tendon. See below also.

The tendon of extensor indicis is occasionally doubled and one of the slips may pass, although rarely, to the thumb or ring finger, or more commonly to the middle finger. This last slip, forming an extensor digiti III may occur as a separate muscle (2-5%) arising from the ulna, or from the posterior ligament of the wrist joint below the indicator. An extensor digiti IV is a rarer variation. These slips of the deep or short extensor appear to be reversions to a primative arrangement, in which the muscle provides tendons to the whole series of digits. The tendons of these muscles may also be poorly developed.

An extensor digitorum brevis manus is also found in rare cases. Macalister found this muscle once in fifteen subjects while Wood reported once in thirty six subjects. It may appear in two forms: slips arising from the back of the wrist, and slips arising from the carpus or metacarpus may be connected to the tendons of interosseous muscles as well as to the tendons of the extensor.

Extensor digiti medii (present in 10% of bodies) arises from the ulna beneath the extensor indicis, with which it may be fused. It sends a tendon to the extensor aponeurosis of the middle finger or sends slips to the middle finger and the index finger.

Tendinous slips may leave extensor digitorum communis to join those of extensor indicis or extensor pollicis longus. Extensor digitorum brevis (s. extensor brevis digitorum manus), first described by Albinus in 1734, resembles the muscle of the same name on the dorsum of the foot. It may have from one to four fasiculi. The most common fasciculus is one that provides an extensor tendon of the index finger, extensor indicis brevis. This arrangement for the middle finger is nearly as frequent. The fascicle usually arises from the bones of the ulnar half of the carpus (lunate, triquetrum, hamatum, and capitatum) and from the dorsal ligaments joining the bones. The tendons are inserted either into the corresponding extensor tendons or onto the metacarpals. This muscle may be found in about 3 to 9% of bodies. Others have reported frequencies of 2 to 10%. Ogura, et al., found extensor digitorum brevis manus muscle present 28 times in a study of 845 hands; a frequency of 3.3%.

In an extensive study of the extensor indicis proprius muscle, 263 extremities from 140 consecutive cadavers were examined (Cauldwell, et al.). These authors report that in man, the gorilla, and frequently the chimpanzee, a relatively constant special extensor indicis can be found. Inspite of its constancy, the muscle showed marked variation in size origin, insertion, or all of these, in 41 (15.6%) of 263 specimens. In eight specimens (3%) from female cadavers, the muscle was abnormally small. They did not find complete absence although it has been reported.

In three cases (1.4%) the muscle was aberrant at its origin only: 1) a short muscle of carpal origin joined the tendon of a normal indicis; 2) the tendon of an indicis was incorporated with a short muscle of carpal origin; 3) a short muscle arose autonomously from the radial tip and carpus. The short carpal extensor has been termed an "extensor digiti brevis manus."

Complete duplication of the extensor indicis proprius muscle occurred in 5 cases, not counting 5 anomalous short extensor muscles.

Supernumerary tendons, with normal muscle origins, were found in 27 (10.3%) of 263 specimens:

  1. complete duplication of the indicator tendon, in 7 (2.7%);
  2. a separate muscle co-existing with a normal extensor pollicis longus and extensor indicics proprius, and providing tendons to the thumb and index finger (extensor pollicis et indicis) in 2 (0.76%);
  3. doubled tendons inserting with the index and middle fingers, respectively, in 17 (6.5%); in 14, one tendon to each finger; in 2, one to the index, two to the index, one to the middle.. The separate muscle to the middle finger was an "extensor medii digiti", the combined muscle, an "extensor indicis et medii communis";
  4. special tendons to the index, middle, and ring fingers, in 1 (0.38%)

Variations in origin and insertion were observed in 3 cases (1.14%); in one, an anomalous carpal muscle inserting with the middle finger co-existing with a normal indicis proprius; in 2, a short extensor muscle derived tendinous origin from the ulna, muscular origin from the ulna, radius and carpus, and inserted by two tendons with the index and middle fingers - an "extensor digitorum brevis manus." Gama reported a frequency of 1.1% for this muscle in a study of 3004 adults who were randomly examined, 38 were found. Gama also reported that this muscle has been described 128 times between 1743 and1983). reported that extensor digitorum brevis manus (EDBM) was found in 17 of 559 (3%) of dissected hands of 286 cadavers. These were classified into three types, based on their origin. The EDBM insertion was the same as extensor indicis proprius and they were often joined. The two muscles shared the same blood and nerve supply. EDBM was considered a variant and disassociated part of extensor indicis proprius. Excluding variation in origin, supernumerary tendons occurred in 17 (of 135 or 12.6%) right and 13 (of 128 or 10.6%) left extremities, a total of 30 of 263 or 11.4%).

Other studies of "extensor pollicis et indicis" muscle show some variability in frqeuency; Wood reported 1 in 600; Gruber found it in 5% of 204 cadavers, and Wagenseil saw it in 1 of 131 limbs. This muscle is infrequent in humans but is commonly found in the dog, fox, wolf, jackel, panther, and the dingo. It has also been found in the vampire bat, cat, hedgehog, rabbit, bear, coati and beaver. See also Extensor pollicis for illustration.

Extensor pollicis et indicis was described by LeDouble (translation by E. Kaplan in D. T. W. Chiu) as follows: This tendon, which may come off the tendon, or from the muscle of the extensor indicis proprius, or even separately from the epicondyle by muscular or tendinous fibers, may join the tendon of the long extensor of the thumb at the level of the first metacarpal entering the tunnel of extensor pollicis longus at the level of the first metacarpal or into the tunnel for the extensor indicis proprius. This was observed by Monel, Duval, Gruber, Wood, myself ( i.e., LeDouble).

Macalister reported the following variations for extensor indicis;

  1. It was found absent by Macalister, Cheselden and by Moser;
  2. It was found with a doubled tendon;
  3. The muscle may be doubled with a single tendon;
  4. Extensor indicis may have a slip from extensor digitorum communis;
  5. Extensor indicis may have an origin from the radius, carpus, and interosseous ligament, and none from the ulna;
  6. the muscle may have a double tendon and an accessory slip from the common extensor (extensor digitorum communis);
  7. It may be inserted by fascia into the back of the hand;
  8. Or into the posterior annular ligament;
  9. A digastric indicator was found, whose second belly was on the back of the hand;
  10. It may have some union with extensor medii digiti, or be inseparable from it; and
  11. Gantzer once saw it doubled, and one of these muscles arose from the radius.

Extensor medii digiti is often a differentiated part of extensor indicis; arising below extensor indicis from the back of the ulna, it varies only in its greater or less degree of differentiation from its neighbor. Wood found it 11 times in 102 subjects. Wood also found it separate from the extensor indicis, sending an additional tendon to the index finger; in one case the tendon coalesced with the indicator before insertion. Wood has also seen it arising from the intermuscular septum between the extensor communis digitorum and the supinator brevis (supinator), above the other deep muscles. It has also been seen sending a slip to be inserted partly into the indicator tendon, and partly into the middle metacarpal fascia. Meckel found extensor medii digiti arising from the radius and it has been seen arising from the carpus. Most commonly, it is only a second tendon connected with a separate belly; sometimes this tendon is an offshoot from the indicator tendon.

The evolution of the modern name for the special extensor muscle of the index finger is provided by Cauldwell, et al. as follows: Albinus recognized the extensor muscle and noted it in his Historia musculorum hominis (1734). "Vesalius employed the functional designation decimusnonus digitos movetium, and Columbus the topographial term tertius manus exterior musculus. The simplified term indicatorius was introduced by Arantius , and shortened to indicator by Riolan. Strangely enough, the muscle was considered to have an abducting function by Spigelius and Veshing, as witnessed by the respectively given terms indicem abducens and indicis abductor; the thumb is the only reference point that could be used in educing this action, and a more logical one is hard to conceive. Cowper used, extenseur secundi seu indicator. Douglas' ' "nomenclaturic nicety required the unwieldly, extensor secundi internodii indicis proprius, vulgo indicator. The modern usage represents the acceptance, in Latinized form, of Winslow's l'extenseur propre de index."

Syn.: m. Indicator ("vulgar") s. Indicatorius, abductor indicis.

Image 7

Extensor digiti medii brevis and extensor bicaudatus digiti medii et tertii.from Calori, 1867


References

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