Cephalic vein

Cephalic Vein

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Cephalic vein

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In human anatomy, the cephalic vein (or antecubital vein) is a superficial vein of the upper limb.

It communicates with the basilic vein via the median cubital vein at the elbow and is located in the superficial fascia along the anterolateral surface of the biceps brachii muscle.

Superiorly the cephalic vein passes between the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles (deltopectoral groove) and through the deltopectoral triangle, where it empties into the axillary vein.

It is often visible through the skin, and its location in the deltopectoral groove is fairly consistent, making this site a good candidate for cannulation. It is often referred to as the 'House-man's Friend' for this reason and is generally a good place for cannulaton when a large bore cannula needs to be sited.


Ordinarily the term cephalic refers to anatomy of the head. When Persian physician Ibn Sīnā's Canon was translated into medieval Latin, cephalic was mistakenly chosen to render the Arabic term al-kífal, meaning "outer".

Additional images

Image:Gray417_color.PNG|Cross-section through the middle of the forearm.
Image:Gray573.png|The veins on the dorsum of the hand.
Image:Gray575.png|The deep veins of the upper extremity.


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