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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb: Common Interosseous Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb

Common Interosseous Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The palmar and dorsal (posterior) vessels may arise separately from the ulnar.

A high origin of the common interosseous has been described as arising from the axillary artery.

Palmar interosseous arteries may be so well-developed that they substitute for branches of the ulnar and/or radial arteries

The common interosseous may be a branch of a high radial artery and it may provide the radial artery deep to pronator teres.

A usual anterior interosseous may be absent and be replaced by branches of the radial artery.

It may join the radial artery at the wrist, or if the radial stops short of the carpus the posterior interosseous artery may replace it.

One of the branches of the anterior interosseous is of special interest. The median artery is a long slender artery that arises from the proximal part of the interosseous and supplies the median nerve throughout its course in the forearm. Occasionally (~8%), the median arterial branch is large and continues into the hand, deep to the flexor retinaculum along with the median nerve to join in the formation of the superficial palmar arch. The addition of the median artery to the already numerous and crowded carpal canal components may compress the median nerve and lead to the carpal tunnel syndrome.

The median artery is a persistence of the developmental pattern, in which the median artery maintains the superficial palmar network while the radial and ulnar arteries are developing. It persists as a variant, even after the final form of the development of the radial and ulnar vessels in the hand has occurred. The median artery usually arises from the common interosseous artery or the anterior interosseous.

The recurrent interosseous branch of the posterior interosseous is frequently missing and may be replaced by a branch from the common interosseous artery. The posterior interosseous may give rise to an accessory posterior interosseous; it may also give rise to a superficial external interosseous artery that courses superficial to flexor carpi ulnaris to the wrist.

High Origin of the Arteries of the Forearm
Radio-Ulnar-Interosseous Trunk

Number of Observations

Total Origin:





24 ?



19 ?

1) Statistics by Giacomini.
2) Statistics by authors cited by Giacomini.
3) Statistics by Dubreuil-Chambardel.

Image 38, Image 497, Image 498, Image 514, Image 528, Image 529


Image 140,Image 248, Image 250


See Image 250

Superficial Median

Image 65


Anson, B.J., Ed. (1966) Morris' Human Anatomy, 12th ed., The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Baltimore and Munich.

Broca, -. (1849) Anomalies artérielles d'un member thoracique. Perforation du nerf median par l'artère inter osseuse. Bulletins et Mem. de la Société Anatomique de Paris XXIV(3):67-70.

Henle, J. (1868) Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie des Menschen. 3 vols. Von Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn., Braunschweig.

Latarjet, A. (1948) Testut's Traite d'Anatomie Humaine, 9th ed., G.Doin & Cie., Paris.

Parmentier, -. (1850) Anomalies artérielles; un cas d'origine prématuree de l'artère interosseuse. Bulls. et Méms. de la Soc. Anatomique de Paris 1850:75.

Salvi, G. (1898) Arteriae dorsalis carpi. Atti della Societia a Toscana di Scienze Naturali, residente in Pisa. 17:167-185.

Schaefer, E.A., Symington, J, and T.H. Bryce, Eds. Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed., Longmans, Green and Co., London.

Tandler, J. (1897) über die Varietäten der Arterien der Hand. Anat. Hefte 7:263-282.

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