Ulnar artery

The ulnar artery is a terminal branch of the brachial artery, arising at the proximal aspect of the forearm. Along with the radial artery, it is one of the main arteries of the forearm. 

The ulnar artery arises as a large terminal branch of the brachial artery at the inferior aspect of the cubital fossa 1.

The ulnar artery courses along the ulnar aspect of the forearm deep to the flexor muscles. It then enters the hand after passing through the Guyon canal (ulnar canal) located between the pisiform and the hook of hamate. It then divides into its terminal branches at the carpal region of the hand 1

The main branches of the ulnar artery include the anterior and posterior ulnar recurrent arteries, the common interosseous, the palmar carpal arch, the superficial palmar arch, and the dorsal carpal branch 1.

The ulnar artery terminates at the hand via its branches; the palmar carpal arch, the superficial palmar arch, and the dorsal carpal branch 1

The ulnar artery supplies the periarticular anastomoses of the elbow via the anterior and posterior ulnar recurrent arteries. It also supplies the medial and central forearm muscles, the median and ulnar nerves, and the common flexor sheath 1.

There may be a persistent median artery from the common or anterior interosseous arteries which accompanies the median nerve through the carpal tunnel.

Anatomy: Upper limb

Anatomy: Upper limb

Article information

rID: 48482
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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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
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  • Figure 3: anterior forearm anatomy
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  • Figure 4: forearm deep arterial anatomy
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  • Figure 5: cubital fossa (diagram)
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