Deep palmar arch

The deep palmar arch (deep volar arch) is an arterial network found in the palm. It is usually formed mainly from the terminal part of the radial artery, with the ulnar artery contributing via its deep palmar branch, by an anastomosis. This is in contrast to the superficial palmar arch, which is formed predominantly by the ulnar artery.

Deep palmar arch
Palm of left hand, showing position of skin creases and bones, and surface markings for the volar arches.
Ulnar and radial arteries. Deep view. (Deep volar arch visible at bottom center.)
SourceRadial artery (primarily), deep palmar branch of ulnar artery
BranchesPalmar metacarpal arteries
VeinDeep palmar venous arch
LatinArcus palmaris profundus,
arcus volaris profundus
Anatomical terminology

The deep palmar arch lies upon the bases of the metacarpal bones and on the interossei of the hand, being covered by the oblique head of the adductor pollicis muscle, the flexor tendons of the fingers, and the lumbricals of the hand.

Alongside of it, but running in the opposite direction—toward the radial side of the hand—is the deep branch of the ulnar nerve.

The superficial palmar arch is more distally located than the deep palmar arch. If one were to fully extend the thumb and draw a line from the distal border of the thumb across the palm, this would be the level of the superficial palmar arch (Boeckel's line). The deep palmar arch is about a finger width proximal to this. The connection between the deep and superficial palmar arterial arches is an example of anastomosis, and can be tested for using Allen's test.

From the deep palmar arch emerge palmar metacarpal arteries.

See also


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 595 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  • lesson5artofhand at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
  • Atlas image: hand_blood2 at the University of Michigan Health System ("Palm of the hand, deep dissection, anterior view")

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