Hello Surgeon

X

How can we help you today?

Approach

Volar Approach to Radius

The Volar approach to radius, also called Henry approach, offers an excellent and safe exposure of the radius, exposing the entire length of the bone.

The Volar approach to radius is used for:

  1. ORIF of proximal radius and radial shaft fractures.
  2. Radial osteotomy.
  3. Tumor/abscess biopsy and excision.
  4. Anterior exposure of bicipital tuberosity.
  5. Superficial radial nerve compression syndrome (Wartenberg Syndrome).
  6. Treatment of compartment syndrome of the forearm.
  7. Excision of sequestra in chronic osteomyelitis.

Position of the Patient

Place the arm supine on table with arm board, and supinate the arm.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Landmarks and Incision

Landmarks:

  • Biceps tendon .
  • Brachioradialis muscle.
  • Styloid process of the radius.
See Also: Forearm Muscles Anatomy & Function

Incision:

Make a straight incision from the anterior flexor crease of the elbow just lateral to the bicep’s tendon down to the styloid process of the radius.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Internervous plane

The Internervous plane for the Henry approach is as following:

Proximally between:

  • Brachioradialis muscle: which is innervated by the radial nerve.
  • Pronator teres muscle: which is innervated by the median nerve.

Distally between:

  • Brachioradialis muscle: which is innervated by the radial nerve.
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis (FCR) muscle: which is innervated by the median nerve.
Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Superficial dissection

Incise the deep fascia in line with skin incision and develop a plane between brachioradialis muscle and Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle distally. Move proximal to develop plane between Pronator teres muscle and Brachioradialis muscle, identify the superficial radial nerve beneath Brachioradialis muscle. Ligate the branches of the radial artery to aid lateral retraction of Brachioradialis muscle.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)
Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Deep dissection

Deep dissection – proximal third:

Follow the biceps tendon to its insertion on the bicipital tuberosity, radial to the insertion of biceps tendon incise the bursa to gain access to the proximal part of radius (radial artery which runs along the ulnar side of the biceps tendon). Fully supinate the forearm to displace the posterior interosseous nerve radially and bring the origin of the supinator muscle into the anterior aspect of the radius. Incise the supinator muscle along the line of its broad insertion and continue sub-periosteal dissection laterally.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Deep dissection – middle third:

Pronate the forearm to bring the insertion of the pronator teres muscle, along the radial aspect of the radius, into view, detach the pronator teres muscle insertion from bone and retract it medially.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)
Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Deep dissection – distal third:

Partially supinate the forearm and dissect the periosteum off the lateral aspect of the distal third of the radius, lateral to the pronator quadratus muscle and flexor pollicis longus muscle.

Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)
Volar Approach to Radius (Henry approach)

Approach Extension

The Volar approach to radius provides complete access to the entire length of the radius.

The Volar approach to radius can be extended distally to expose the wrist joint.

Dangers

The structure at risk during volar approach to radius (Henry Approach) include:

Posterior interosseous nerve:

Posterior interosseous nerve enters the supinator muscle beneath a fibrous arch known as the arcade of Frohse. The arch is formed by the thickened edge of the superficial head of the supinator muscle. Compression of the nerve at this point produces paralysis or dysfunction of the extensor muscles, known as posterior interosseous nerve entrapment syndrome.

Steps to protect the Posterior interosseous nerve include:

  • Dissecting supinator off radius sub-periostally.
  • Do not place retractors on posterior surface of radial neck.
  • Avoid excessive radial retraction of supinator.

Its injury leads to a neuropraxia that takes 6-9 months to resolve.

Superficial radial nerve:

Superficial radial nerve runs down forearm under body of brachioradialis muscle. It is vulnerable to injury with manipulation of mobile wad of three.

Damage to it can cause a painful neuroma.

Radial artery:

Radial artery runs down middle of forearm under brachioradialis muscle.

The recurrent radial arteries are a leash of vessels arise from the radial artery below the elbow joint. They consist of two groups, anterior and posterior, which pass in front of and behind the superficial radial nerve, respectively, before entering the brachioradialis muscle. They must be ligated to allow mobilization of both the artery and the nerve.

References & More

  1. Surgical Exposures in Orthopaedics book – 4th Edition
  2. Campbel’s Operative Orthopaedics book 12th
  3. AO Foundation – Anterior approach (Henry) to the forearm shaft
  4. Conti Mica MA, Bindra R, Moran SL. Anatomic considerations when performing the modified Henry approach for exposure of distal radius fractures. J Orthop. 2016 Nov 1;14(1):104-107. doi: 10.1016/j.jor.2016.10.015. PMID: 27833358; PMCID: PMC5096598.
  5. Bartoníček J, Naňka O, Tuček M. Přístupy k diafýze radia [Approaches to radial shaft]. Rozhl Chir. 2015 Oct;94(10):415-24. Czech. PMID: 26556019.
  6. Protopsaltis TS, Ruch DS. Volar approach to distal radius fractures. J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Jul-Aug;33(6):958-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.04.018. PMID: 18656773.
Last Reviewed
March 6, 2023
Contributed by
Orthofixar students

Orthofixar does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice.

Angle Meter App for Android & iOS
  • Lifetime product updates
  • Install on one device
  • Lifetime product support
One-Click Purchase
Orthopedic FRCS VIVAs Quiz
  • Lifetime product updates
  • Install on one device
  • Lifetime product support
One-Click Purchase
Top 12 Best Free Orthopedic Apps
  • Lifetime product updates
  • Install on one device
  • Lifetime product support
One-Click Purchase
All-in-one Orthopedic App
  • Lifetime product updates
  • Install on one device
  • Lifetime product support
One-Click Purchase