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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses: Subscapular Nerves

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Plexuses

Subscapular Nerves

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The upper trunk of these nerves (upper subscapular) may arise from either the fifth or sixth cervical nerve instead of from both. The fourth cervical may also contribute.

The middle (thoracodorsal) may arise solely from the fifth or seventh, or from the seventh and eighth cervical nerves.

The lower subscapular nerve may arise from the fifth or sixth, or from the sixth and seventh cervical nerves.

The nerve supply to the lower part of Mm. subscapularis and teres major (ordinarily from the lower subscapular) sometimes proceeds separately from the brachial plexus. The branch to m. teres major may also arise from the axillary (circumflex) nerve.

The lower subscapular and axillary nerves have been found to traverse m. subscapularis beneath an accessory subscapular muscle (subscapularis minor).

This arrangement is considered to be a possible nerve entrapment site.

In 50% of cases studied, the upper and lower subscapular nerves receive contributions from the fourth cervical nerve.

Image 31A Image 31B Image 31C Image 31D Image 31E Image 31F

Image 31G Image 31H Image 31I Image 31J


Birmingham, A. (1889) Homology and innervation of the achselbogen and pectoralis quartus, and the nature of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thorax. J. Anat. Physiol. 23:206-223.

Henle, J. (1868) Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomy des Menschen. von Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn., Braunschweig.

Latarjet, A. (1948) Testut's Traité d'Anatomie Humaine, 9th ed., G. Doin & Cie., Paris.

Pye-Smith, P.H., Howse, H.G., and J.C.N. Davies-Colley. (1871) Notes of abnormalities observed in the dissecting room during the winter sessions of 1868-9 and 1869-1870. Guy's Hosp. Report 16:147-164.

Schaefer, E.A., Symington, J. and T.H. Bryce, Eds. (1915) Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed., Longmans, Green, and Co., London.

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