The aim of this study was to assess the anatomical variations, especially the anomalous muscles passing through Guyon's canal and the fibrous arch forming the piso-hamate hiatus, which may play a role in ulnar tunnel syndrome. We have also focused on the relation of these structures with specific concern to the ulnar nerve. Nineteen embalmed cadavers (37 hands and forearms) were dissected. A fibrous arch extending between the pisiform and the hook of the hamate was observed in 21 hands. In majority of the cases flexor digiti minimi muscle was found to originate only from this arch. An anomalous muscle was disclosed in six hands with four of them passing through the piso-hamate hiatus with the deep branch of the ulnar nerve. In two of four cases, the superficial branch of the ulnar nerve was also accompanying the deep branch of the ulnar nerve beneath the anomalous muscle and through the piso-hamate hiatus. Because these anomalous muscles were generally found to course through the piso-hamate hiatus with the branches of the ulnar nerve, we conclude that the distal portion of the Guyon's canal has a relatively higher risk for ulnar nerve entrapment. We believe that surgeons operating on this region should take into account these various anatomic structures. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.