Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Washkewicz College of Engineering

First Advisor

Zong-Ming Li

Subject Headings

Biomechanics, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

The transverse carpal ligament (TCL) acts as a partial origin for the thenar muscles (abductor pollicis brevis (APB), flexor pollicis brevis (FPB), opponens pollicis (OPP)). The attachment between the thenar muscles and TCL implies a relationship between the tissues. The thenar muscles rely on their origins for thumb motion and force production. However, individual thenar origin information is lacking. Further information regarding the anatomical relationship between the individual thenar muscles and TCL may provide insight into thenar muscle function. In addition, the TCL responds to thenar muscle contraction as shown by volar migration of the TCL during various thumb movements. However, the muscle-ligament biomechanical interaction after TCL transection is unknown. Further understanding of the altered muscle-ligament biomechanical relationship may illuminate the consequence of surgical procedures on this interaction. The overall goal of this thesis was to investigate the relationship between the thenar muscles and the transverse carpal ligament. First, the individual thenar muscle origins were identified through cadaveric dissection and digitized to determine the individual thenar muscle’s anatomical relationship to the TCL. Second, cadaveric muscle loading was used to mimic thenar muscle contractions in intact and released specimens to examine the consequences of TCL release on the muscle-ligament biomechanical relationship. The results showed that each muscle had distinct origin size and location, with the OPP having the largest origin size and the APB with the most proximal location. The APB originated mainly on the TCL while the OPP and FPB originated mostly off the TCL. It was also observed that muscle loading after TCL release caused different patterns of muscle-ligament interaction compared to loading before release. However, the noted difference in muscle-ligament interaction was inconclusive. The current investigations advance our understanding of the anatomical configuration at the interface between the TCL and individual thenar muscles and imply a possible consequence of TCL transection with regards to muscle-ligament biomechanical interaction. Our findings may be applied to explain other clinical implications of muscle-ligament interaction and may influence future studies focused on illuminating the pathomechanical effect of TCL transection.

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