Veins Draining The Upper Limbs


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Source: OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

The digital veins in the fingers come together in the hand to form the palmar venous arches. From here, the veins come together to form the radial vein, the ulnar vein, and the median antebrachial vein. The radial vein and the ulnar vein parallel the bones of the forearm and join together at the antebrachium to form the brachial vein, a deep vein that flows into the axillary vein in the brachium.

The median antebrachial vein parallels the ulnar vein, is more medial in location, and joins the basilic vein in the forearm. As the basilic vein reaches the antecubital region, it gives off a branch called the median cubital vein that crosses at an angle to join the cephalic vein. The median cubital vein is the most common site for drawing venous blood in humans. The basilic vein continues through the arm medially and superficially to the axillary vein.

The cephalic vein begins in the antebrachium and drains blood from the superficial surface of the arm into the axillary vein. It is extremely superficial and easily seen along the surface of the biceps brachii muscle in individuals with good muscle tone and in those without excessive subcutaneous adipose tissue in the arms.

The subscapular vein drains blood from the subscapular region and joins the cephalic vein to form the axillary vein. As it passes through the body wall and enters the thorax, the axillary vein becomes the subclavian vein.


Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: