Upper limb vasculature

Upper limb superficial veins

Basilic, cephalic and median cubital veins. Source: Researchgate

Superficial veins of the upper limb include the basilic and cephalic veins. Both arise from the dorsal venous arch which are an arch of veins on the back of the hand that drain blood from the hand and fingers.

The cephalic vein begins at the dorsolateral (radial) hand, crossing the anatomical snuffbox to run up the anterolateral upper limb before turning medially into the deltopectoral groove (between the deltoid and pectorals) as it approaches the shoulder. Piercing the clavipectoral fascia, it joins the axillary vein.

The basilic vein begins at the dorsomedial (ulnar) hand, running up to the anteromedial forearm and then the medial cubital fossa. It pierces the deep fascia around midway between shoulder and elbow to join the venae comitantes that run alongside the brachial artery and which then form the axillary vein.

At the cubital fossa, there is often a median cubital vein connecting the basilic and cephalic veins. This vein is commonly used for drawing blood.

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