The cephalic vein runs up the lateral side of the arm from the hand to the shoulder. In the shoulder, it pierces the tissues and empties into the axillary vein. After the cephalic vein joins the axillary vein, it becomes the subclavian vein and empties into the superior vena cava. In the bend of the elbow, a medial cubital vein rises from the cephalic vein and crosses over to the basilic vein. This is the vein that is commonly used for blood samples or to add fluids into the body.