Veins of the upper limb
|Origin:||Dorsal venous network of the hand, variable veins of the anterior and posterior forearm|
|Branches:||Median cubital vein, accessory cephalic vein|
|Insertion:||Drains into the axillary vein|
|Venous drainage:||upper limb|
|Search for Cephalic vein in Gray's.|
The cephalic vein originates from the lateral side of the dorsal venous network of the hand. It travels proximally in the superficial fascia, first crossing the surface of the anatomical snuffbox and then superficial to the radial styloid (where it may be called the "houseman's friend", see below) and along the lateral border of the arm. It moves anteriorly as it ascends the forearm, and gives off the median cubital vein before it enters the cubital fossa lying anterior to the radial head.
At this point the vein enters the groove between brachioradialis and biceps brachii, crossing superficially to the musculocutaneous nerve and continuing along the lateral border of biceps. As it enters the upper third of the upper arm, it passes between pectoralis major and deltoid, accompanied by the deltoid branch of the thoracoacromial trunk. It crosses through the clavipectoral fascia and across the axillary artery, before ending in the axillary vein inferior to the clavicle.
- Variable veins of the anterior and posterior forearm
- Accessory cephalic vein
- May communicate with the external jugular vein by a branch ascending anterior to the clavicle.
- May have a direct connecting branch with the basilic vein
- The accessory cephalic vein may be a direct branch of the cephalic vein
- The houseman's friend is an alternate name for the cephalic vein as it leaves the anatomical snuffbox and traverses the radial styloid onto the lateral border of radius. It is so named due to its constancy at this location, as even in obese patients it runs straight at this point, allowing access for venous blood sampling and intravenous cannulation
- The cephalic vein at the elbow is often used for venous blood sampling