Hello, hello! Happy Monday! The spring semester is right around the corner and I’m so excited to get back in action with anatomy. During my first semester of DPT school anatomy, we covered the upper extremity. I started tackling muscles before I even started school and shared my whole-body muscle drawings in this post, which was more of a hit then I ever imagined it would be. I’ve gotten a lot of requests to share more drawings, so this next series here will include the arterial blood supply for the upper extremity.
This post includes my drawings of the arteries of the upper extremity, including the course of the axillary artery all the way through the digital arteries of the hand. I have included short, simple breakdowns with each picture. So, if you are looking for a specific blood vessel, you can click COMMAND+F or CONTROL+F to find that specific one. You can also enlarge a picture by clicking on it.
Please feel free to share, save, download, or even print these pictures for study tools of your own. Sharing these images and writing these breakdowns have been a great way for me to review and stay fresh with cumulative material - so we’re all winning here! Stay tuned for more of my upper extremity anatomy drawings, as well as new, lower extremity anatomy drawings from the upcoming spring semester.
The Axillary Artery
1st part of the axillary artery - begins after the first rib and ends at the medial portion of the pectoralis minor muscle; contains the supreme thoracic artery
2nd part of the axillary artery - lies deep to the pectoralis minor muscle; contains the thoracoacromial trunk (with four branches that include the acromial artery, deltoid artery, clavicular artery, and pectoral artery) and the lateral thoracic artery
3rd part of the axillary artery - begins after the lateral portion of the pectoralis minor muscle and ends at the inferolateral portion of the teres major muscle; contains the subscapular artery (with two branches that include the scapular circumflex artery and the thoracodorsal artery), the anterior humeral circumflex artery, and the posterior humeral circumflex artery
The axillary artery supplies the following muscles/areas:
Supreme thoracic artery: 1st and 2nd intercostal spaces and the superior serratus anterior
Acromial artery (via the thoacoacromial trunk): deltoid
Clavicular artery (via the thoacoacromial trunk): subclavius
Deltoid artery (via the thoacoacromial trunk): deltoid
Pectoral artery (via the thoacoacromial trunk): pectoralis major and pectoralis minor
Lateral thoracic artery: serratus anterior
Subscapular artery: subscapularis
Scapular circumflex artery: infraspinatus and teres minor
Thoracodorsal artery: lattisimus dorsi and teres major
Anterior humeral circumflex artery: deltoid
Posterior humeral circumflex artery: deltoid
The Brachial Artery
After the teres major muscle, the axillary artery terminates and becomes the brachial artery. The brachial artery terminates in the cubital fossa and then gives off two branches: the radial artery and the ulnar artery. The ulnar artery gives off a common interosseous artery, which then divides into the anterior interosseous artery and posterior interosseous artery.
The first branch off of the brachial artery is the profunda brachial artery (also known as the deep brachial artery). The profunda brachial artery gives off two branches. One branch is the radial collateral artery that anastomoses with the radial recurrent artery off of the radial artery. The other branch is the middle collateral artery that anastomoses with the interosseous recurrent artery off of the common interosseous artery (off of the ulnar artery).
The second branch off of the brachial artery is the superior ulnar collateral artery, which anastomoses with the posterior ulnar recurrent artery off of the ulnar artery.
The third branch off of the brachial artery is the inferior ulnar collateral artery, which anastomoses with the anterior ulnar recurrent artery off of the ulnar artery.
Branches of the brachial artery supply the muscles of the anterior arm, which include the biceps brachii, coracobrachialis, and brachialis. The profunda brachial artery specifically supplies the triceps brachii in the posterior arm.
The Arches and Branches of the Hand
The ulnar artery provides the main contribution to the superficial palmar arch (and gives off a smaller branch to the deep palmar arch). The superficial palmar arch gives off common palmar digital arteries, which then divide further into proper palmar digital arteries.
Anteriorly, the radial artery provides the main contribution to the deep palmar arch (and gives off a smaller branch to the superficial palmar arch). The deep palmar arch gives off palmar metacarpal arteries, which join the common palmar digital arteries.
Posteriorly, the radial artery gives off a dorsal carpal arch. The dorsal carpal arch branches into dorsal metacarpal arteries, which then divide further into dorsal proper digital arteries.
The radial artery gives off two additional branches: the princeps pollicis artery and the radialis indices artery.
Branches of the superficial and deep palmar arches supply all intrinsic muscles of the hand.
I hope you’ve found these drawings helpful - stay tuned for more (don’t forget to subscribe so you can be notified when I share new blog posts).
Happy studying! :)