Cephalic vein

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Latin, 'of the head'. From the mistaken belief that bloodletting this vein would drain impurities from the head.

The cephalic vein is a major vein of the forearm and upper arm. It is a tributary of the axillary vein.



Cephalic vein
Upper limb veins.gif
Veins of the upper limb
System: Venous system
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
Arterial supply:
Venous drainage: upper limb
Lymphatic drainage:
Vertebral levels:
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.






Clinical Relevance