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Perforating Branches of Internal Thoracic Artery
Cardiovascular System

Perforating Branches of Internal Thoracic Artery

Rami perforantes arteriae thoracicae internae

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The perforating branches arise from the internal thoracic artery at points where it lies adjacent to the upper six intercostal spaces.


From their origin, the perforating branches travel anteriorly through the anterior thoracic wall, piercing the intercostal and pectoralis major muscles. It is accompanied by the anterior cutaneous branches of the upper anterior rami of thoracic nerves (or intercostal nerves).


There are no named branches.

Supplied Structures

The perforating branches of the internal thoracic artery supply the intercostal and pectoral muscles and the overlying skin. Additionally, in females the second to fourth perforating branches supply the mammary gland and become enlarged during lactation.

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Internal Thoracic Artery

ScienceDirect image

The internal mammary artery (IMA) is the first branch of the subclavian artery which runs down the anterior chest wall supplying perforating intercostal branches to the anterior chest wall and sternum.

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