The cephalic vein is one of the major superficial veins of the upper limb that begins from the dorsal venous network of the hand.
This vein arises from the dorsal venous network on the radial side of the hand. It reaches the radiocarpal joint and continues to the anterior side of the forearm. The vein then passes along the radial border until it reaches the cubital fossa, where it forms a slanting anastomosis - the median cubital vein. This anastomosis joins with the brachial veins (deep veins) and further drains into the basilic vein.
In the upper arm, the cephalic vein ascends along the anterolateral side. It reaches the shoulder where it passes in the deltopectoral groove between the deltoid and the pectoralis major muscles. Then it reaches the clavipectoral triangle, where it penetrates the clavipectoral fascia and enters the axillary cavity. Here, the cephalic vein flows into the axillary vein (a deep vein of the arm).