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Neurovasculature of the elbow and forearm: want to learn more about it?

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Neurovasculature of the elbow and forearm

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you to:

  1. Identify the arteries, veins and nerves related to the elbow and forearm.
  2. List their main branches and tributaries.
  3. Visualize the course of these structures and the anatomical relations that they form with neighbouring structures.

Watch videos

Neurovascular supply of the elbow and forearm:

  • Radial and ulnar arteries: The ulnar and radial arteries travel down the medial and lateral aspects of the forearm, giving off vessels that supply the anterior and posterior forearm compartments.
  • Basilic and cephalic veins: The superficial system is formed by the cephalic and basilic veins. The basilic vein drains the medial aspect of the forearm while the cephalic vein drains the forearms lateral aspect. Both empty into the axillary vein. The deep system consists of the paired radial veins, ulnar veins and interosseous veins, these drain the lateral, medial and central aspects of the forearm.
  • Median, ulnar and radial nerve: These terminal branches of the brachial plexus provide motor and sensory nerve supply to the elbow and forearm.

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the neurovasculature of the elbow and forearm. 

Take a quiz

Can you identify the arteries, veins and nerves of the elbow and forearm? Give it a try with our quiz.

You can also create your own quiz with our custom quiz creator. On the link below you’ll find the presets for a quiz about all the structures of the upper extremity, including the muscles, bones, ligaments and neurovasculature.

Atlas gallery

Explore the arteries, veins and nerves of the upper limb in the gallery below.

Summary

Key points about the arteries of the elbow and forearm
Radial artery Radial recurrent artery
Muscular branches of radial artery
Ulnar artery Anterior ulnar recurrent artery
Posterior ulnar recurrent artery
Muscular branches of ulnar artery
Nutrient artery of ulna

Common interosseous artery

Anterior interosseous artery (->nutrient artery of radius,  median artery)
Posterior interosseous artery (->recurrent interosseous artery)
Key points about the veins of the elbow and forearm
Cephalic vein Tributaries: Accessory cephalic vein
Drains into: Axillary vein
Basilic vein Tributaries: Median cubital vein (median antebrachial vein)
Drains into: Axillary vein
Brachial veins Tributaries: Anterior interosseous veins, posterior interosseous veins, ulnar veins, radial veins

Drains into: Axillary vein
Key points about the nerves of the elbow and forearm
Radial nerve Posterior antebrachial cutaneous nerve
Muscular branches of radial nerve
Deep branch of radial nerve (Posterior interosseous nerve)
Superficial branch of radial nerve
Lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve Anterior branch of lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve
Posterior branch of lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve
Median nerve Muscular branches of median nerve
Anterior interosseous nerve
Communicating branch of median nerve and ulnar nerve
Ulnar nerve Muscular branches of ulnar nerve
Medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve Anterior branch of medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve
Posterior branch of medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve

Well done!

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Continue your learning

Continue your study of the neurovascular structures of the upper limb by reading about the arteries, veins and nerves of the arm and hand.

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