Xii: Anatomy of the radial artery


  • Originates at cubital fossa as one of two terminal branch of brachial artery


  • Anastomoses with ulnar artery → Forms deep palmar arch of hand


  • Runs along radial aspect of anterior compartment of forearm under brachioradialis, lateral to flexor carpi radialis tendon
  • Distally, radial artery lies on surface of radius
  • Proceeds along floor of anatomical snuffbox, passing dorsally around scaphoid and trapezium

Relationships at wrist level

  • Medial: Flexor carpi radialis tendon, palmaris longus tendon, median nerve
  • Lateral: Brachioradialis tendon


  • Radial recurrent artery
  • Palmar carpal branch
  • Dorsal carpal branch
  • Muscular branches
  • Superficial palmar branch


  • Princeps pollicis artery
  • Radialis indicis artery


  • Elbow joint
  • Lateral forearm muscles
  • Radial nerve
  • Carpal bones and joints
  • Thumb
  • Lateral side of index finger

Surface Anatomy

  • Near styloid process → artery at its most superficial point

Anatomical Variants

  • High origin off brachial/axillary artery
  • Transposition of radial/ulnar arteries (radial artery from medial & ulnar artery from lateral side of brachial artery)
  • Tortuous radial artery
  • Superficial radial artery that crosses over tendons defining anatomic snuffbox of wrist
  • Stenosis
  • Duplication of artery
  • Hypoplastic/Complete absence of artery

Author: Novia Tan