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Radial veins

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Arteries, veins and nerves of the elbow and forearm.
Radial vein (Vena radialis)

The radial vein is a paired vessel found in the lateral forearm, extending from the hand to the cubital fossa. The pair of radial veins are defined as the venae comitantes of the radial artery, meaning that there are two radial veins accompanying the radial artery on either side. Along with the ulnar vein, the radial vein belongs to the deep veins of the forearm.

The main function of the radial vein is to drain the venous blood from the deep structures of the hand, the lateral forearm and the elbow joint. It ends near the elbow joint by anastomosing with the ulnar vein and forming the brachial vein.

Key facts about the radial vein
Origin Deep palmar venous arch
Tributaries Palmar and dorsal metacarpal veins, accompanying veins of branches of the radial artery
Drains to Brachial vein
Drainage area Carpal bones, metacarpal bones, joints of carpus and metacarpus, lateral muscles of the forearm, elbow joint

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the radial vein.

  1. Anatomy and course
  2. Sources
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Anatomy and course

The radial veins originate in the dorsum of the hand from the lateral part of the deep palmar venous arch. They course close to the radial artery, exiting the hand by traversing the anatomical snuffbox. The radial veins then course through the lateral part of the anterior forearm, again accompanying the radial artery. Along their course through the forearm, the radial veins receive the blood from the veins that accompany the branches of the radial artery. 

The radial veins terminate within the cubital fossa by joining the ulnar veins and forming the brachial vein. Their function is to drain the venous blood from the carpal and metacarpal bones and their respective joints, as well as the lateral muscles of the forearm and the elbow joint.

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

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