This study aimed to characterize in vivo human digital arteries in three-dimensions using photoacoustic tomography in order to understand the specific mechanism underlying arterial deformation associated with movement of the proximal interphalangeal joint. Three-dimensional morphological data were obtained on the radialis indicis artery (radial artery of the index finger) at different angles of the joint. The association between increased curvature of the deformation and the anatomical region was assessed. Characteristic morphological deformations in areas of major deformation were determined. The deformation of the artery was characterized by three consecutive curves in juxta-articular regions, which were particularly noticeable when the joint was flexed at an angle of ≥ 60°. The change in the curvature of the deformation during 30°–90° of flexion was lower in middle-aged individuals than in young individuals. Better understanding of the mechanism underlying deformation of the digital arteries may contribute to advancements in flap procedures and rehabilitation strategies after digital artery repair.
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