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Cubital fossa

Cubital fossa
Ulnar and radial arteries. Deep view.
Nerves of the left upper extremity.
Latin fossa cubitalis
Dorlands/Elsevier f_14/12375853

The cubital fossa is the triangular area on the anterior view of the elbow joint of the arm.



The boundaries of the cubital fossa include the following:

  • superficial boundary (roof)- deep fascia reinforced by the bicipital aponeurosis (a sheet of tendon-like material that branches off the tendon of the biceps)
  • deep boundary (floor)- brachialis and supinator muscles
  • superior (proximal) boundary- imaginary line connecting medial epicondyle of the humerus to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus
  • medial (ulnar) boundary- pronator teres muscle
  • lateral (radial) boundary- brachioradialis muscle[1]


The cubital fossa contains three main vertical structures (from lateral to medial):

When the radial nerve is included, one can also use the mnemonic for lateral to medial: "Really Need Beer To Be At My Nicest".[2] When the radial nerve is excluded, one can use the mnemonic TAN, for "Tendon Artery Nerve".

The ulnar nerve is also in the area, but is not in the cubital fossa; it occupies a groove on the posterior aspect of the medial epicondyle of the humerus.

Several veins are also in the area (for example, the median cubital vein, cephalic vein, and basilic vein) but these are usually considered superficial to the cubital fossa, and not part of its contents.

Clinical aspects

During blood pressure measurements, the stethoscope is placed over the brachial artery in the cubital fossa. The cubital fossa is also an area used to palpate for the brachial pulse.

The area just superficial to the cubital fossa is often used for venous access (phlebotomy). A number of superficial veins can cross this region. Historically, back when (venous) blood-letting was practiced, the bicipital aponeurosis (the ceiling of the cubital fossa) was known as the "grace of God" tendon because it protected the contents of the fossa (i.e. the brachial artery and the median nerve).

Additional images

See also

  • Peripherally inserted central catheter
  • Median cubital vein


  1. ^ Chapter 9: THE ARM AND ELBOW. Retrieved on 2008-01-05.
  2. ^ a b Mnemonic at 1271 45 631 1283
  3. ^ Norman/Georgetown lesson4cubitalfossa
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cubital_fossa". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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