Radial artery

Last revised by Yoshi Yu on 3 Apr 2023

The radial artery is a terminal branch of the brachial artery and arises at the cubital fossa of the forearm. It is one of the two main arteries of the forearm, along with the ulnar artery.

Summary

  • origin: terminal branch of the brachial artery

  • location: inferior aspect of the cubital fossa

  • supply: elbow joint, lateral forearm muscles, radial nerve, carpal bones and joints, thumb, and lateral side of the index finger

  • main branches: radial recurrent artery, palmar carpal branch, dorsal carpal branch, and muscular branches

Gross anatomy

Origin

The radial artery originates at the cubital fossa as one of the two terminal branches of the brachial artery 1.

Course

The radial artery runs along the radial aspect of the anterior compartment of the forearm under the brachioradialis, lateral to the flexor carpi radialis tendon. For the distal section of its course, the radial artery lies on the surface of the radius.

The radial artery leaves the anterior compartment of the forearm by passing laterally around the wrist before proceeding along the floor of the anatomical snuff box, passing dorsally around the scaphoid and trapezium 1,2. At the carpal region of the hand, the radial artery forms the deep palmar arch of the hand and anastomoses with the ulnar artery 1.

Branches

The branches of the radial artery in the forearm include the 1:

In the hand, the branches are the:

Termination

The radial artery terminates in the hand as it passes between the oblique and transverse heads of the adductor pollicis muscle to form the deep palmar arch, which anastomoses with the ulnar artery 1,3.

Supply

The radial artery provides blood supply to the elbow joint, lateral forearm muscles, radial nerve, carpal bones and joints, thumb, and lateral side of the index finger 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: arteries of the elbow (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 2: anterior forearm deep anatomy (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 3: anterior forearm anatomy (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 5: forearm deep arterial anatomy (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 6: cubital fossa (diagram)
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