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Posterior Interosseous Artery
Cardiovascular System

Posterior Interosseous Artery

Arteria interossea posterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Common interosseous artery.

Course: Distally, deep within the posterior compartment of the forearm and into hand.

Branches: No named branches.

Supplied Structures: Muscles of the posterior compartment of the forearm.

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The common interosseous artery terminally bifurcates into the anterior interosseous and the typically smaller posterior interosseous arteries.


The posterior interosseous artery courses posteriorly over the proximal edge of the interosseous membrane into the posterior compartment of the forearm. It emerges in the posterior compartment of the forearm between the distal margin of the supinator and the proximal margin of the abductor pollicis longus muscles. It continues distally on the deep muscles of the extensor compartment. The artery accompanies the deep branch of the radial nerve in the mid forearm. Near the wrist it anastomoses with the anterior interosseous artery, which then contributes to the dorsal carpal arch.


The posterior interosseous artery gives off several muscular and cutaneous branches. It is the main vascular supply to the mid portion of the extensor muscles. It is replaced distally by the anterior interosseous muscle when it pierces the membrane in the region of the pronator quadratus.

Supplied Structures

The posterior interosseous artery supplies the superficial and deep muscles of the posterior compartment of the forearm, including abductor pollicis longus, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor digiti minimi, extensor digitorum, extensor indicis, and extensor pollicis longus and brevis muscles. It also supplies the skin overlying the dorsal aspect of the hand and wrist.

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ScienceDirect image

When the artery is occluded blood is forced through the collateral vessels, drastically increasing fluid shear stress and triggering an inflammatory response which drives vessel remodeling.

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