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Anterior interosseous artery

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Anterior interosseous artery (Arteria interossea anterior)

The anterior interosseous artery is a branch of the common interosseous artery, a short arterial trunk that arises from the ulnar artery in the cubital region of the forearm. Thus, the anterior interosseous artery is effectively a terminal branch of the ulnar artery.

The anterior interosseous artery traverses the anterior compartment of the forearm. Its main function is to provide blood supply to the radius and ulna, deep flexors of the forearm, deep extensors of the forearm, and the skin that overlies the lateral side of the forearm.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the anterior interosseous artery.

Key facts about the anterior interosseous artery
Origin Ulnar artery (via common interosseous artery)
Branches Median artery, muscular branches, nutrient branches, cutaneous branches
Supply Radius, ulna, deep flexors and extensors of forearm, median nerve, interosseous membrane of forearm, distal radioulnar joint, skin of lateral margin of forearm
  1. Course
  2. Branches and supply
  3. Anatomical variations
  4. Sources
+ Show all


The anterior interosseous artery arises just above the proximal margin of the interosseous membrane of the forearm. It emerges from the common interosseous artery, sharing this origin with the posterior interosseous artery. The artery descends over the anterior surface of the interosseous membrane alongside the anterior interosseous branch of median nerve.

During its course, it is situated between the flexor digitorum profundus and flexor pollicis longus muscles. At the level of the pronator quadratus muscle, the anterior interosseous artery perforates the interosseous membrane to reach the posterior compartment of the forearm. Here, it terminates by anastomosing with the posterior interosseous artery. The newly formed anastomotic vessel, which is a continuation of both interosseous arteries, passes beneath the extensor retinaculum to reach the dorsum of the hand where it ends by anastomosing with the dorsal carpal arch.

The anterior interosseous artery seems to supply a lot of forearm muscles. Learn them easily and efficiently using Kenhub's muscle anatomy and reference charts!

Branches and supply

The anterior interosseous artery gives off several collateral branches to supply the surrounding structures;

  • The median artery, which descends the forearm closely related to the median nerve and ends by anastomosing with the superficial palmar arch. It supplies the forearm portion of the median nerve and structures of the palm of the hand.
  • Muscular and nutrient branches, which stem from the anterior interosseous artery along its entire course. These branches perforate the interosseous membrane and supply the radius, ulna and deep extensors of the forearm.

The terminal anastomosis with the posterior interosseous artery gives off up to three cutaneous branches that supply the skin of the lateral part of the distal forearm.

Explore our articles, video tutorials, quizzes and labeled diagrams to learn more about the vessels of the forearm.

Anatomical variations

Although the anterior interosseous artery usually gives rise to the median artery, this artery can also stem from the ulnar or from the common interosseous artery.

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