Arterial Variations of the Subclavian-Axillary Arterial Tree: Its Association with the Supply of the Rotator Cuff Muscles

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N. Naidoo; L. Lazarus; B. Z. De Gama; N. O. Ajayi & K. S. Satyapal


The subclavian-axillary arterial tree is responsible for the arterial supply to the rotator cuff muscles as well as other shoulder muscles. This study comprised the bilateral dissection of the shoulder and upper arm region in thirty-one adult and nineteen fetal cadaveric specimens. The variable origins and branching patterns of the axillary, subscapular, circumflex scapular, thoracodorsal, posterior circumflex humeral and suprascapular arteries identified in this study corroborated the findings of previous studies. In addition, unique variations that are unreported in the literature were also observed. The precise anatomy of the arterial distribution to the rotator cuff muscles is important to the surgeon and radiologist. It will aid proper interpretation of radiographic images and avoid injury to this area during surgical procedures.

KEY WORDS: Subclavian-axillary arterial tree; Variations; Supply; Rotator cuff muscles.

How to cite this article

NAIDOO, N.; LAZARUS, L.; DE GAMA, B. Z.; AJAYI, N. O. & SATYAPAL, K. S. Arterial variations of the subclavian-axillary arterial tree: Its association with the supply of the rotator cuff muscles. Int. J. Morphol., 32(4):1436-1443, 2014.