Distal insertional anatomy of the triceps brachii muscle: MRI assessment in cadaveric specimens employing histologic correlation and Play-doh® models of the anatomic findings

Negrão JR, Mogami R, Ramirez Ruiz FA, Wagner FV, Haghighi P, Ward SR, Resnick DL.
Skeletal Radiol, 2020 49(7):1057-1067.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: Assess the insertional anatomy of the distal aspect of the triceps brachii muscle using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in cadavers with histologic correlation and Play-doh® models of the anatomic findings.
MATERIALS: Elbows were obtained from twelve cadaveric arm specimens by transverse sectioning through the proximal portion of the humerus and the midportion of the radius and ulna. MRI was performed in all elbows. Two of the elbow specimens were then dissected while ten were studied histologically. Subsequently, Play-doh® models of the anatomic findings of the distal attachment sites of the triceps brachii muscle were prepared.
RESULTS: MRI showed a dual partitioned appearance of the distal attachment sites into the olecranon in all specimens. In the deeper tissue planes, the medial head muscle insertion was clearly identified while superficially, the terminal portion of the long and lateral heads appeared as a conjoined tendon. Histologic analysis, however, showed continuous tissue rather than separate structures attaching to the olecranon.
CONCLUSION: Although MRI appeared to reveal separate and distinct attachments of the triceps brachii muscle into the olecranon, histologic analysis delineated complex but continuous tissue related to the attachments of the three heads of this muscle. The Play-doh® models were helpful for the comprehension of this complex anatomy and might serve as a valuable educational tool when applied to the analysis of other musculoskeletal regions.