Anatomy Tables - Superficial Limbs


Bone Structure Description Notes
(N420, N421, TG2-03A, TG2-03B, Practical)
  an "S" shaped bone located between the sternum and the scapula it articulates medially with the manubrium of the sternum and laterally with the acromion process of the scapula; it forms a strut that supports the upper limb; it is frequently fractured; it is the first bone to begin ossification during development
  acromial extremity the flattened lateral end of the clavicle it is marked on its inferior surface at the junction of the medial 2/3 and the lateral 1/3 by a roughened area for attachment of the coracoclavicular ligament; it articulates with the coracoid process of the scapula through a syndesmosis; it articulates with the acromion process of the scapula through a synovial joint; due to the shape of the distal clavicle, the acromion process passes inferior to the clavicle in acromioclavicular dislocations (Latin, akron = tip + omos = shoulder, therefore the tip of the shoulder)

Topographical Anatomy

Structure/Space Description/Boundaries Significance
cubital fossa
(N418, TG2-24)
superior - line between humeral epicondyles, medial - pronator teres, lateral - brachioradialis site for phlebotomy



Vein Tributaries Drains Into Regions Drained Notes
cephalic v.
(N424, N428, N479, TG2-02, TG2-12A, TG2-12B, Practical)
lateral side of the dorsal venous arch of the hand; superficial veins of the forearm axillary vein superficial parts of the lateral hand and lateral forearm median cubital vein usually shunts some of the blood collected by the cephalic v. to the basilic v. (Latin/Greek, kephale = head)
(N479, N480, TG2-02, Practical)
dorsal veins of hand medially; superficial veins of forearm, median cubital vein unites with brachial vein(s) to form the axillary vein superficial parts of medial hand & medial forearm connects with deep veins of the forearm via perforating veins
median cubital
(N479, TG2-02, Practical1, Practical2)
cephalic basilic superficial parts of hand & forearm a median antebrachial vein is possible and, when present, it may drain into the median cubital vein
dorsal venous network of hand
(N480, TG2-02, Practical)
dorsal metacarpal veins medially into basilic v. and laterally into cephalic v. superficial, dorsal aspect of digits unlike the foot, a distinct arch may be absent in the hand, replaced by a dorsal venous network of veins

dorsal venous arch of foot
(N544, TG3-02, Practical)
dorsal digital vv. and dorsal metatarsal vv. great saphenous v. medially, small saphenous v. laterally dorsum of digits & superficial structures of dorsum of foot
saphenous, greater
(N544, N546, TG3-02, TG3-70)
medial end of dorsal venous arch of foot, perforating communications, superficial epigastric, superficial circumflex iliac, superficial external pudendal femoral v. superficial structures of medial lower limb; lower abdominal wall, perineal region frequently used as graft material in coronary bypass surgery (Saphenous, arabic for "al safin" = hidden, for this vein does not show through the skin)
epigastric, superficial
(N500, N544, TG3-02)
none greater saphenous v. superficial fascia and skin of the lower abdominal wall superficial epigastric v. communicates with paraumbilical vv. and may enlarge in portal hypertension, producing the sign called caput medusae
saphenous, lesser
(N545, TG3-03)
lateral end of dorsal venous arch of foot popliteal v. superficial lateral foot & leg (Saphenous, arabic for "al safin" = hidden, for this vein does not show through the skin) ZZZZZZ


Nerve Source Branches Motor Sensory Notes
antebrachial cutaneous, lateral
(N429, N430, N431, N477, N479, N480, TG2-02, TG2-15, TG2-17, TG2-50)
musculocutaneous n. anterior and posterior branches none skin of the lateral side of the forearm lateral antebrachial cutaneous n. emerges from the lateral intermuscular interval between biceps and brachialis; it is the continuation of the musculocutaneous n. (Latin, cutis = skin)
antebrachial cutaneous, medial
(N429, N430, N431, N477, N479, N480, TG2-02, TG2-15, TG2-17, TG2-50, Practical)
medial cord of the brachial plexus no named branches none skin of the medial side of the forearm medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve travels with the basilic vein for part of its course (Latin, cutis = skin)
antebrachial cutaneous, posterior N429, N430, N431, N477, N479, N480, TG2-02, TG2-15, TG2-17, TG2-50) radial n. inferior lateral brachial cutaneous n. none skin of the lateral distal arm and posterior forearm posterior antebrachial cutaneous n. passes posterior to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (Latin, cutis = skin)
superficial radial n.
(N478, TG2-50, Practical)
radial n. dorsal digital brs. sympathetic motor for the skin skin of the posterolateral wrist and hand; dorsum of the lateral 2 1/2 digits (excluding the skin over the distal phalanx/nail bed) superficial radial n. is located deep to the brachioradialis muscle
dorsal branch of the ulnar n.
(N476,N480, TG2-14, TG2-49, Practical1, Practical2)
ulnar n. dorsal digital sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the dorsal surface of the medial 2 1/2 digits; skin of the medial side of the back of the hand dorsal branch of the ulnar n. emerges at the level of the ulnar styloid process (Latin, ulna = elbow)


Organ/Part of Organ Location/Description Notes
brachial fascia
(N479, TG2-02)
sheath of deep fascia enclosing the arm that is continuous superiorly with the pectoral and axillary layers of fascia attached inferiorly to the epicondyles of the humerus and the olecranon of the ulna and is continuous with the antebrachial fascia
antebrachial fascia
(N480, TG2-02)
anterior and posterior thickening forming the extensor retinaculum; immediately distal but deeper to the palmar carpal ligament it forms the flexor retinaculum formation of the carpal tunnel through which the median n. and flexor tendons pass

Clinical Terms

Term Definition
venipuncture puncture of a vein (usually in the arm) with a hollow bore needle for the purpose of obtaining a blood specimen; risks are localized pain, hematoma (accumulation of blood under the skin), bleeding, secondary infection (rare) and fainting (in susceptible individuals). A common upper extremity vein is the median cubital vein.

The material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest & Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York
Copyright © 1995, unauthorized use prohibited.
The excellent editorial assistance of
Dr. Pat Tank, UAMS
is gratefully acknowledged.


Updated: 19 Oct 2011