Unusual pattern of the first dorsal metacarpal artery
The vascular anatomy of the dorsal aspect of the hand is variable. Nevertheless the presence of the first and the second dorsal metacarpal artery (DMA) is constant. DMA3 and 4 are more variable. The anatomical study presented demonstrates the segmental vascularization of the metacarpal bones and the possibility of harvesting metacarpal bone flaps. The reliability of such a flap decreases from the second to the fifth metacarpal bone regarding the frequency of presence of the DMAs. The authors describe six new vascularized bone flaps from the third and the fourth metacarpal bones pedicled on the second or the third dorsal metacarpal artery in an anterograde or retrograde flow mode. This study suggests that the radial and the ulnar side of the third metacarpal bone could be harvested respectively on the DMA2 and DMA3. The radial side of the fourth metacarpal bone could also be a reliable vascularized bone donor site. Flaps can be used proximally or distally based to repair bone defects either on metacarpal and carpal bones or on proximal phalanges.