Authors of section

Authors

Fergal Monsell, Dalia Sepulveda

General Editor

Chris Colton

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Volar (anterior) approach to the distal radius

1. Soft tissue anatomy

  1. Radial artery
  2. Flexor carpi radialis tendon
  3. Median nerve
  4. Motor branch of the median nerve
  5. Pronator quadratus muscle
  6. Flexor digitorum profundus tendons
  7. Flexor digitorum superficialis tendons
  8. Palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve
volar anterior approach to the distal radius

2. Modified Henry approach

Whereas the original Henry approach goes between brachioradialis laterally and the radial artery medially, the modified approach uses the plane between the Flexor Carpi Radialis (FCR) tendon medially and the radial artery laterally.

open reduction k wire fixation

3. Pitfall

The radial artery and the palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve are vulnerable during this approach.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius

4. Skin incision and exposure

The FCR tendon is palpated, before making the skin incision to its radial side.

The sheath is opened and the tendon retracted medially.

The incision is deepened between the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) and the radial artery.

Care must be taken to avoid damaging the radial artery on the lateral side and the superficial palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve on the medial side.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius

A finger is used to develop the interval between the FPL muscle and the radial artery, exposing the pronator quadratus muscle.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius

5. Pearl

The pronator quadratus muscle should be elevated using an L-shaped incision.

The horizontal limb is placed at the distal edge of the muscle extending medially. The position of the radiocarpal joint can be determined by the insertion of a hypodermic needle.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius

Retraction of the incised edges of the pronator quadratus muscle exposes the distal radius. The muscle is elevated from the distal radius extraperiosteally.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius

6. Wound Closure

The pronator quadratus should be replaced over any anterior implant(s), and every attempt should be made to reattach its distal edge to the capsule.

If possible, the vertical limb should be reattached to its lateral insertion.

The FCR tendon sheath may be closed, but care must be taken to avoid incorporating the cutaneous branch of the median nerve.

The skin is closed.

volar anterior approach to the distal radius