Cu­bital fossa: tri­an­gles, phle­botomy and ditches

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Dr Adam Taor

What is it? The tri­an­gu­lar de­pres­sion on the top sur­face of the in­ner el­bow. Its bound­aries in­clude mus­cles that run through here, and the end of the humerus— the bone in our up­per arm. What does it con­tain? It’s an im­por­tant point of ref­er­ence for some of the arm’s ma­jor com­po­nents, such as the brachial artery. And the ra­dial and me­dian nerves, which in­ner­vate many mus­cles in the arm and hand, pass though here. Why do doc­tors pay close at­ten­tion to it? When they mea­sure blood pres­sure, they put a stetho­scope over it, so they can hear blood pass through the brachial artery. And when they per­form phle­botomy (tak­ing blood for tests) they of­ten get blood from one of the big veins that run un­der the skin, over the cu­bital fossa. What’s it named af­ter? Its lo­ca­tion: cu­bi­tus is Latin for el­bow, and for its shape: fossa is Latin for ditch.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Nathalie Gar­cia

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