Venous drainage of the upper limb Fig 291

As in the lower limb the venous drainage comprises interconnected superficial and deep systems.

• The superficial system: comprises the cephalic and basilic veins.

• The cephalic vein commences from the lateral end of the dorsal venous network overlying the anatomical snuffbox. It ascends the lateral, then anterolateral, aspects of the forearm and arm and finally courses in the deltopectoral groove to pierce the clavipec-toral fascia and drain into the axillary vein.

• The basilic vein commences from the medial end of the dorsal venous network. It ascends along the medial then anteromedial aspects of the forearm and arm to pierce the deep fascia (in the region of the mid-arm) to join with the venae comitantes of the brachial artery to form the axillary vein.

The two superficial veins are usually connected by a median cubital vein in the cubital fossa.

• The deep veins: consist of venae comitantes (veins which accompany arteries).

The superficial veins of the upper limb are of extreme clinical importance for phlebotomy and peripheral venous access. The most commonly used sites are the median cubital vein in the antecubital fossa and the cephalic vein in the forearm.

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