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Neurovasculature of the hand

Learning objectives

After going through this study unit, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the main vessels of the hand and their supply areas.
  2. Name the nerves of the hand and become familiar with their origin.

Watch video

The arteries of the hand arise from the radial and ulnar arteries which form two arches (superficial and deep) that supply its digits, muscles and joints. The venous drainage mainly follows the arterial supply draining blood into the ulnar and radial veins, however it is augmented by an extensive dorsal venous network that carries the blood towards the basilic and cephalic veins of the forearm. The median and ulnar nerves innervate the muscles of the hand; the cutaneous supply also comes from these nerves as well as the radial nerve.

The following video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the arteries, veins, and nerves of the hand.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video about the neurovasculature of the hand, solidify your knowledge by taking our quiz.

Or test your knowledge on the ‘bigger picture’ using this fully customizable quiz for a broader examination of the neurovasculature of the upper limb:

Browse atlas

Revise everything that you have learned by analyzing each structure of the neurovasculature of the hand through our atlas galleries:

Summary

Key point about the arteries of the hand
Radial artery Palmar branches
Palmar carpal branch of radial artery
Superficial palmar branch of radial artery
Princeps pollicis artery ( → radialis indicis artery, palmar ulnar digital artery of thumb, palmar radial digital artery of thumb)

Dorsal branches
Dorsal carpal branch of radial artery
1st dorsal metacarpal artery (Dorsal ulnar digital artery of thumb)
Dorsal radial digital artery of thumb
Ulnar artery Palmar branches
Palmar carpal branch of ulnar artery
Deep palmar branch of ulnar artery

Dorsal branches

Dorsal carpal branch of ulnar artery ( → dorsal digital artery of little finger)
Arterial arches Formed by contributions from radial and ulnar arteries

Palmar arches

Superficial palmar arch ( → common palmar digital arteries, proper palmar digital arteries, palmar digital artery of little finger)
Deep palmar arch ( → palmar metacarpal arteries, perforating branches of palmar metacarpal arteries)

Dorsal arches

Dorsal radiocarpal anastomosis
Dorsal carpal arch ( → dorsal metacarpal arteries, dorsal digital arteries)
Basal metacarpal arch
Key points about the veins of the hand
Cephalic vein  Dorsal venous network, lateral dorsal metacarpal veins, dorsal digital veins
Basilic vein  Dorsal venous network, medial dorsal metacarpal veins, dorsal digital veins
Radial veins  Deep venous palmar arch, palmar metacarpal veins
Ulnar veins Superficial venous palmar arch, palmar digital veins
Key points about the nerves of the hand
Nerves of the hand Median nerve: Palmar branch, recurrent branch, common palmar digital branches ( → proper palmar digital branches)

Ulnar nerve
: Dorsal branch, dorsal digital branches, palmar branch, superficial branch ( → common palmar digital nerves → proper palmar digital nerves), deep branch

Radial nerve
: Superficial branch ( → dorsal digital branches)
Muscular innervation Median nerve: Thenar muscles and lumbrical muscles (1st & 2nd)
Ulnar nerve
: Hypothenar, interossei muscles and lumbricals (3rd & 4th)
Cutaneous innervation Median nerve: Lateral ⅔ of palm; palmar surface and dorsal distal ⅓ of lateral 3 ½ digits
Ulnar nerve
: Medial ⅓ of palm; palmar surfaces of medial 1 ½ digits, Medial ⅓ of dorsum of hand; dorsal surfaces of medial 2 ½ digits
Radial nerve
: Lateral ⅔ of dorsum of hand; dorsal proximal ⅔ of lateral 3 ½ digits

Well done!

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