Additional head of biceps brachii: a cadaveric study

Seema Gupta, Anshu Soni, Hitant Vohra


Background: The biceps brachii is an important muscle of anterior compartment of arm. It shows frequent anatomic variability due to presence of supernumerary heads. Knowledge of the existence of the third head of biceps brachii is important for surgeons. Keeping this in mind a study was planned to see the incidence of additional head of biceps brachii in sample Indian population and to compare it with other racial groups.

Methods: The study was carried out on 30 cadaveric upper limbs. The upper limbs were dissected and studied for the presence of additional head of biceps brachii. The attachment and nerve supply of the additional head was carefully observed, recorded and documented.

Results: Out of 30 limbs which were dissected, additional head of biceps brachii was found only in two limbs. In both the cases the additional head was present only on the right side and arose from the anterior surface of humerus, superomedial to the origin of brachialis. The additional head fused with the common bulk of the muscle and was inserted into the radial tuberosity and bicipital aponeurosis. The extra heads of biceps brachii muscle received branches from musculocutaneous nerve.

Conclusions: Biceps brachii is one of the commonest muscles showing variations. The additional head is not only of academic importance, but its knowledge also helps clinicians in managing fractures of humerus and nerve entrapment.


Additional head, Biceps brachii muscle, Cadaver, Variant

Full Text:



Standring S. Gray’s Anatomy. The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. 40th ed. Edinburg, Churchill Livingstone- Elsevier; 2008:825-6.

Bryce TH. In: Sharpey Schafer E, Symington J, Bryce TH, eds. Quain’s Elements of Anatomy. 11th ed. London, Longmans, Green, and Co.;1923:118.

Bergman RA, Thompson SA, Afifi AK. Catalog of human variation. Baltimore Munich. Urban Schwarzen. 1984:27-30.

Rodríguez‐Niedenführ M, Vázquez T, Choi D, Parkin I, Sañudo JR. Supernumerary humeral heads of the biceps brachii muscle revisited. Clin Anatomy: Offici J Am Assoc Clin Anatom Bri Assoc Clin Anatom. 2003 May;16(3):197-203.

Rai R, Ranade AV, Prabhu LV, Pai MM. Third head of biceps brachii in an Indian population. Singapore Med J. 2007 Oct;48(10):929-31.

Cheema P, Singla R. Low incidence of the third head of the biceps brachii in the North Indian population. J Clin Diag Res. 2011 Nov 1;5(7):1323-6.

Kumar H, Das S, Rath G. An anatomical insight into the third head of biceps brachii muscle. Bratislavské lekárske listy. 2008;109(2):76.

Avadhani R, Chakravarthi KK. A study on morphology of the biceps brachii muscle. Nitte Uni J Health Sci. 2012 Sep 1;2(3):1-5.

Nasr AY, Hussein AM. Morphology and clinical implication of the extra-head of biceps brachii muscle. Folia Morphol. 2013;72(4):349-56.

Sargon MF, Tuncali D, Çelik H. An unusual origin for the accessory head of biceps brachii muscle. Clin Anat. 1996;9(3):160-2.

Asvat R, Candler P, Sarmiento EE. High incidence of the third head of biceps brachii in South African populations. J Anat. 1993 Feb;182(Pt 1):101.

Kosugi K, Shibata S, Yamashita H. Supernumerary head of biceps brachii and branching pattern of the musculocutaneus nerve in Japanese. Surg Radiol Anat. 1992 Jun 1;14(2):175-85.

Al-Kushi AG. Anatomical study of the third head of biceps brachii muscle and its innervation by median nerve in human dissection. J Clin Med Res. 2013 Jun;5:47-52.

Testut L. Signification anatomique du chef humeraldu muscle biceps. Bulletins Memories de la sciete d’ anthroplogic de paris. 1883;6:238-245.

Lokanadham S, Subhadra Devi V. Unusual presentation of supernumerary head of biceps brachii muscle in South Indian population. World J Med Sci. 2011;6(3):115-20.

Balasubramanian A. Supernumerary head of biceps brachii. Int J Anat Var. 2010;3:214-5.

Sonntag CF. On the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the chimpanzee. Proc Zool Soc Lond. 1923;93:323-429.

Swieter MG, Carmichael SW. Bilateral three-headed biceps brachii muscles. Anato Anze. 1980;148(4):346-9.

Mas N, Pelin C, Zagyapan R, Bahar H. Unusual relation of the median nerve with the accessory head of the biceps brachii muscle: an original case report. Int J Morphol. 2006:561-4.

Ansari MM, Gupta UK, Ahmed ML, Ali SF. Third of biceps brachii with anatomical consideration and clinical implication: A case report. J Evol Med Dent Sci. 2013;2:630-4.

Gheno R, Zoner CS, Buck FM, Nico MA, Haghighi P, Trudell DJ, et al. Accessory head of biceps brachii muscle: anatomy, histology, and MRI in cadavers. Am J Roentgenol. 2010 Jan;194(1):W80-3.