Now let’s move on to look at the vessels and nerves of the region. We’ll go from the shoulder to just below the elbow. First we’ll look at the veins.
Many superficial veins from the forearm converge just below tghe elbow to form two large veins - the basilic and the cephalic. The cephalic vein stays at a superficial level as it runs up the arm over the biceps. At the top of the arm it lies between the deltoid and pectoralis major.
The large vein crossing the front of the elbow is the antecubital vein. It crosses from the cephalic, to the basilic vein. The basilic vein then runs up the medial aspect of the arm to join this brachial vein, which is one of a pair.
The two brachial veins join together as they pass up the arm, here they are joining, to become one brachial vein, The name of this vein then changes: up here it becomes the axillary vein.
To get a good look at it proximally we’ll remove pectoralis major. Here’s the axillary vein, running alongside the median nerve and the axillary artery, and disappearing with them behind pectoralis minor.
Now let's look at the artery, and the principal nerves of the arm. From here on the veins, which run parallel to the arteries, have been removed to simplify the picture.
Here’s the main artery, the axillary artery. It emerges from beneath pectoralis minor surrounded by major nerves. As it passes into the arm its name changes. From here on down, it's the brachial artery. Here , right next to the latissimus tendon, it gives off a large branch,the deep brachial, or profunda brachii , which passes backwards deep to the triceps. Along with it goes the radial nerve, which we’ll see in a minute.
The brachial artery runs down the medial side of the arm, alongside the brachialis muscle. The median nerve crosses over the artery. The brachial artery passes beneath the bicipital aponeurosis, which we’ll remove.
Alongside the biceps tendon the brachial artery divides into the two major arteries of the forearm, the radial, and the ulnar. The radial artery stays quite superficial. It runs down the forearm between pronator teres and brachioradialis. The ulnar artery has a much deeper course. It dives down alongside the brachialis tendon, and passes deep to pronator teres.
We’ll leave the arteries there. We'll see their further course in the next section.