Origin of the Inferior Subscapular Nerve, Branching Patterns and its Contribution to the Subscapular Muscle Innervation

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Bustamante Aliste, P. A.; Sousa Rodrigues, C. F. & Olave, E.


The inferior subscapular nerve (ISN) partially innervates the subscapular muscle (SbM) and also innervates the teres major muscle (TMM). Several publications determine wide variation in their origin from Brachial Plexus (BP), but there is little evidence of these variations and the innervation pattern of SbM and TMMin Latin American individuals. The purpose of this study was to describe the origin of the ISN from PB, to determine the number of branches that it gives to the SbM and the branching patterns. 30 upper limbs of cadavers of the Brazilian adult individuals were used; 13 on the right side and 17 on the left, fixed in 10 % formaldehyde. The axillary regions were dissected to expose the posterior fascicle of the brachial plexus (PFBP) and its branches. It was determined whether the origin of the NSI was individual or came from a common trunk. The number of branches for the SbM was quantified, establishing branching patterns. The ISN and its branches were grouped according to their origin and branching. In 3 of the cases (10 %) the ISN came from a common trunk with the thoracodorsal nerve (TDN), 2 from the left side (6.6 %) and 1 from the right side (3.3 %); in 27 cases (90 %) it came from the axillary nerve (AxN), 15 from the left side (50 %) and 12 from the right side (40 %). In no case, the origin was direct from the PFBP. In addition, the number of branches that contributed to the innervation of the SbM was quantified, with an average of 4 branches (from 1 to 8 branches) being observed for the SbM. Four branching patterns of the ISN towards the SbM and the TMM were identified. Both the origin and the distribution of the ISN presented many variations. The data provided will complement the knowledge for proper teaching, timely diagnosis and good surgical practice of the axillary area.

KEY WORDS: Anatomy; Brachial Plexus; Inferior subescapular nerve; Subescapular muscle.

How to cite this article

BUSTAMANTE ALISTE, P. A.; SOUSA RODRIGUES, C. F. & OLAVE, E. Origin of the Inferior Subscapular nerve, branching patterns and its contribution to the subscapular muscle innervation. Int. J. Morphol., 38(1):176-181, 2020.