Novel findings of the anatomy and variations of the axillary vein and its tributaries.
Hee-Jun Yang ; Young-Chun Gil ; Hye-Yeon Lee ; Hyun Kim ; Hyejin Cho ; Jeong-Doo Jin
Clinical Anatomy, Vol.25(7) : 893~902, 2012
The anatomy and variations of the axillary vein has significant implications in various invasive procedures such as venous access, axillary block, arteriovenous fistula creation, axillary node dissection, breast augmentation, and other surgical procedures involving the axilla. To clarify the anatomy of the axillary vein and its tributaries, 40 cadaveric upper extremities were examined after dissection and were classified into several types according to the courses and terminations of brachial veins. The brachial veins ended separately (Type A; 72.5%) or made a common brachial vein (Type B; 27.5%) to enter the basilic vein or the axillary vein. The basilic vein was absent in 5.0% of the specimens. Duplication of the axillary vein was observed in 17.5% of the specimens and the lateral venous channel running along the lateral wall of the axilla was observed in 40.0% of the specimens. The most common drainage vein of the deep brachial vein was the lateral brachial vein (67.5%). The anterior circumflex humeral vein also emptied into the lateral brachial vein in 67.5% of the specimens. The posterior circumflex humeral vein crossed posterior side of the brachial plexus to join either the axillary vein (45.0%) or subscapular vein (42.5%). Perforation of the lateral root of median nerve by a lateral brachial vein, a common brachial vein, or a venous channel was observed in 15.0% of the specimens. Other venous variations accompanying the variations of the axillary artery or the brachial artery are described herein. The clinical importance of these findings is described in the discussion.