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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus I: Muscular System: Alphabetical Listing of Muscles: F: Flexor Pollicis Brevis

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

Flexor Pollicis Brevis

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The flexor pollicis brevis has been reported absent or incorporated into the opponens. The muscle may be inseparably joined to adductor pollicis. The belly of the muscle may be divided. The muscle may be doubled or absent.

An interesting pattern of innervation has been reported for this muscle. The superficial head may be innervated by the median, ulnar or both nerves with a frequency ratio of 13-10-7, while the deep head is innervated primarily by the ulnar (16 of 24 cases), by the median (3 of 24 cases), or by both nerves (5 of 24 cases).


Anson, B.J.., Ed. (1966) Morris' Human Anatomy, 12th ed., The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Day, M.H. and J.R. Napier. (1961) The two heads of flexor pollicis brevis. J. Anat. 95:123-130.

Gegenbaur, C. (1861) Ein Fall von mehrfachen Muskelanomalien an der oberen Extremität. Arch. Path. Anat. Physiol. Klin. Med. 21:376-385.

Hall, H.S. (1903) Complete absence of the superficial flexors of the thumb and concurrent muscular anomalies. J. Anat. Physiol. 38:287-289.

Macalister, A. (1875) Additional observations on muscular anomalies in human anatomy (third series), with a catalogue of the principal muscular anomalies hitherto published. Trans. Roy. Irish Acad. Sci. 25:1-134.

Malhotra, V.K., Singh, N.P. and S.P. Tewari. (1982) The accessory head of the flexor pollicis muscle and its nerve supply. Anat. Anz. 151:503-505.

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