Examine the exposed length of the radial nerve and note that the nerve is in direct contact with the middle portion of the humerus, called the radial, or spiral, groove (Figure 6.6). Since the nerve is closely associated with the humerus, the radial nerve is prone to damage in a mid-shaft fracture of the humerus.
Follow the branches of the radial nerve [branches to lateral and long heads are held by forceps] to the three heads of the triceps brachii muscle. Note that the long head of the triceps receives only one branch while the lateral and medial heads receive several branches. Observe that the branches to the triceps brachii muscle are given off before the radial nerve courses in the spiral groove. Throughout most of its course in the posterior compartment, the profunda brachii artery [probe] accompanies the radial nerve [probe].
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