Reevaluation of the superior radial collateral artery in the human upper arm

Anat Sci Int. 2018 Jan;93(1):69-74. doi: 10.1007/s12565-016-0368-4. Epub 2016 Sep 12.


The superior radial collateral artery (SRCA) was described in well-established anatomy textbooks published in the 1800s. According to those textbooks, the SRCA originates from the brachial artery, passes transversely between the coracobrachialis and the humerus, and distributes to the most distal portion of the deltoid. The SRCA is not listed in the international standard on anatomical terminology, Terminologia Anatomica, or in modern anatomy textbooks. In the present study, we reevaluated the anatomical features of the SRCA by cadaveric dissection. We found that two kinds of SRCAs were consistently present in the upper arm. One was similar to the previous descriptions of the SRCA in terms of origin and course, but the distribution was somewhat different. The other was similar to the previous descriptions in terms of the distribution, although it differed in origin and course. The discrepancy between the description of the SRCA in classical textbooks and the actual morphologies of the SRCA presumably prompted previous anatomists to question the existence of the SRCA, resulting in its absence from anatomical textbooks after a particular time point.

Keywords: Brachial artery; Free flap; Regional anatomy.

MeSH terms

  • Arm / anatomy & histology*
  • Arm / blood supply*
  • Brachial Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Collateral Circulation*
  • Humans
  • Radial Artery / anatomy & histology*