Superficial dorsal artery of the forearm: Case report and review of the literature
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Although abnormalities of vascular anatomy in the forearm are common, variations of the radial and ulnar arteries are rare. Nevertheless, arterial variants in the forearm may present clinically with neurovascular signs or symptoms. Even when anomalous arteries are not apparent, they may complicate surgery of the forearm and hand, as well as reconstructive surgery that involves the harvest of radial or ulnar artery-based forearm free flaps. For example, the superficial ulnar artery has an incidence of 2.7% and has been well described as a "hidden trap" in the harvest of radial forearm flaps. We present a case report of a variant of the radial artery-the superficial dorsal artery of the forearm. This artery has an estimated incidence of 0.75% and is associated with either an absent or small-caliber radial artery. We believe this is the first report of such an artery presenting to clinical attention, as well as the first imaging of this structure with magnetic resonance angiography. The embryology of this structure and its clinical implications to the hand surgeon, peripheral vascular surgeon, and reconstructive microsurgeon, are also discussed.