A consistent pattern of sensory receptors in the elbow joint allow us to understand its capacity as a sensing organ which is pertinent to be preserve in any surgical procedures.
Active restraint for the elbow joint is provided by the soft tissue component, which consists of a musculo-ligamentous complex. The topographic arrangement of sensory receptors in the human elbow joint is pertinent to their role in the transmitting neural signals. The signals from stimuli in the joint are concisely delivered via afferent pathways to allow recognition of pain and proprioception. Sensory receptors in the elbow joint include mechanoreceptors and free nerve endings acting as nociceptors, although the distribution of each of the structures has not been determined, despite their importance for the integrity of the joint.
Materials And Methods
Eight elbow joint were harvested from fresh frozen cadavers. Specimens were carefully separated from the bony structure. The lateral ligament complex, medial collateral ligament and capsule were divided into specific regions of interests accordingly. Microscopic evaluation was performed for Golgi, Ruffini, and Pacinian corpuscles. The number, distribution, and density of each structure were recorded.
Golgi, Ruffini, and Pacinian corpuscles were observed in capsuloligamentous structures, with variable distribution in each region of interest. Ruffini corpuscles showed the highest total mechanoreceptor density. Mechanoreceptor density was higher at bony attachment sites. The existence and role of each mechanoreceptor defined the purpose of each region of interest. No Golgi corpuscle was observed for the capsular complex. Free nerve endings were found at the highest density at posterodistal sites.
A consistent distribution pattern of articular sensory receptors was observed, which allows further understanding of elbow pathology. Awareness of the neuroanatomical distribution of sensory receptors in the elbow joint may allow their preservation during surgical procedures for elbow joint pathology.