Superficial palmar arch

  (Redirected from Superficial volar arch)

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.

Superficial palmar arch
Palm of left hand, showing position of skin creases and bones, and surface markings for the volar arches.
SourceUlnar (primarily), Superficial palmar branch of the radial artery
BranchesCommon palmar digital
VeinSuperficial palmar venous arch
LatinArcus palmaris superficialis,
arcus volaris superficialis
Anatomical terminology

Alternative names for this arterial arch are: superficial volar arch,[1] superficial ulnar arch, arcus palmaris superficialis,[2] or arcus volaris superficialis.[3]

The arch passes across the palm in a curve (Boeckel's line) with its convexity downward,

If one were to fully extend the thumb, the superficial palmar arch would lie approximately 1 cm distal from a line drawn between the first web space to the Hook of Hamate (Kaplan's Cardinal Line). 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/ulnar 3 1/2 fingers.

See alsoEdit

Additional imagesEdit

Footnotes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Palmar and volar may be used synonymously, but volar is less common.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Again, palmar and volar may be used synonymously, but arcus volaris superficialis does not occur in the TA, and can therefore be considered deprecated.


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 598 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

External linksEdit

  • 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"