Superficial palmar arch
|Superficial palmar arch|
Palm of left hand, showing position of skin creases and bones, and surface markings for the volar arches.
|Source||Ulnar (primarily), Superficial palmar branch of the radial artery|
|Branches||Common palmar digital|
|Vein||Superficial palmar venous arch|
|Latin||Arcus palmaris superficialis,
arcus volaris superficialis
The superficial palmar arch is formed predominantly by the ulnar artery, with a contribution from the superficial palmar branch of the radial artery. However, in some individuals the contribution from the radial artery might be absent, and instead anastomoses with either the princeps pollicis artery, the radialis indicis artery, or the median artery, the former two of which are branches from the radial artery.
The arch passes across the palm in a curve with its convexity downward.
If one were to fully extend the thumb, the superficial palmar arch would lie approximately at the level of a line drawn from the distal border of the thumb across the palm. The superficial palmar arch extends more distally than the deep palmar arch. The connection between the deep and superficial palmar arterial arches is an example of anastomosis, and can be tested for using Allen's test.
Three common palmar digital arteries arise from the arch, proceeding down on the second, third, and fourth lumbrical muscles, respectively. They each receive a contribution from a palmar metacarpal artery. Near the level of the metacarpophalangeal joints, each common palmar digital artery divides into two proper palmar digital arteries.
Four digital branches arise from this palmar arch that supplies the medial 3 1/2 fingers.
Footnotes and references
- Palmar and volar may be used synonymously, but volar is less common.
- This is the official and international Latin term as defined by the Terminologia Anatomica (TA), but in English speaking countries and especially the US, superficial palmar arch is more commonly used.
- Again, palmar and volar may be used synonymously, but arcus volaris superficialis does not occur in the TA, and can therefore be considered deprecated.
- lesson5artofhand at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
- Atlas image: hand_blood1 at the University of Michigan Health System - "Palm of the hand, superficial dissection, anterior view"
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