Cephalic vein Definition
It is the subcutaneous vein of the upper extremity. It is sometimes denoted as “antecubital vein”. The term cephalic refers to anatomy of the head.
Cephalic vein Location
It is located on the lateral side of the left and right arm that runs from the hand to the shoulder. It is not a deep or distal but a superficial vein and hence clearly visible through the skin.
Cephalic vein Origin
It arises at the radial border of the dorsal venous network of the hand. Here, an accessory cephalic vein, which is a variable vein, passes along the radial border of the forearm to join the large blood vessel near the elbow.
Cephalic vein Anatomy
A median cubital vein, which is another superficial vein of the upper limb, rises from the antecubital vessel in the bend of the elbow to join the basilic vein. The superficial vein passes between the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles, and pierces through the clavipectoral triangle, the part of the anterior thoracic region bounded superiorly by the clavicle. It finally empties into the axillary vein to become the subclavian vein, which in turn empties into the superior vena cava.
Cephalic vein Function
It is a potential site for placing venous access devices, which are the small, flexible tubes, used for the following:
- Administration of medications, fluids and nutritional compounds
- Transfusion of blood components
- Withdrawal/Sampling of blood for diagnostic purposes
Cephalic vein cut-down approach is a common technique used to permanently place artificial pacemakers in the subcutaneous vein in the deltopectoral groove. A bracheocephalic fistula formed by connecting the brachial artery to the subcutaneous vein above the elbow during hemodialysis ensures greater flow of blood. This procedure is also called cephalic vein transposition and typically performed in case of a hemorrhage or trauma.
Cephalic vein Thrombosis
Formation of blood clot in the superficial vessel leads to deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Subsequent inflammation of the antecubital vein results in a host of fatal conditions. In such a case, prompt treatment is necessary that may range from medications to surgery. Increased mobility may aid in the management of the symptoms.
Cephalic vein Pictures