Xii: Anatomy of the Brachial Artery


  • Continuation of axillary artery distal to inferior border of teres major


  • Bifurcates to form radial artery and ulnar artery in cubital fossa at level of radial neck, below bicipital aponeurosis


  • Medial to humerus (accompanied by basilic vein and median nerve)
  • Distally courses more anteriorly to lie between epicondyles of humerus
  • At cubital fossa, bicipital aponeurosis covers the artery and separates it from median cubital vein



  • Skin


  • Attachments of coracobrachialis and brachialis muscles
  • Medial head of triceps brachii muscle
  • Radial nerve

Lateral (proximal)

  • Median nerve
  • Coracobrachialis muscle

Medial (proximal)

  • Ulnar nerve
  • Medial cutaneous nerve of forearm

Medial (distal)

  • Basilic vein
  • Median nerve


  • Profunda brachii
  • Superior and inferior ulnar collateral arteries
  • Deltoid artery
  • Radial artery
  • Ulnar artery


  • Muscles of upper arm: biceps brachii, triceps brachii, coracobrachialis muscles
  • Forearm and hand by continuation as radial & ulnar arteries

Surface Anatomy

  • Medial to biceps brachii tendon

Anatomical Variants

  • High bifurcation at axillary level into a main trunk & a common stem (superficial brachial artery courses anterior to median nerve)
  • Accessory brachial artery (duplication that unites before cubital fossa)
  • Superficial radial artery
  • Superficial ulnar artery in upper arm (descends superficially to common origin of forearm flexors, immediately beneath median cubital vein → risk of accidental puncture when cannulating antecubital vein)

Author: Novia Tan