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Scalenus Posterior Muscle
Muscular System

Scalenus Posterior Muscle

Musculus scalenus posterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Posterior tubercles of transverse processes of C4-C6 vertebrae.

Insertion: External surface of second rib.

Action: Laterally flexes neck; elevates second rib.

Innervation: Anterior rami of fourth to sixth cervical nerves (C4-C6).

Arterial Supply: Ascending cervical artery.

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The scalenus posterior muscle arises from the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the fourth to sixth cervical vertebrae (C4-C6).


The scalenus posterior muscle inserts into the external surface of the second rib, behind the tuberosity for serratus anterior muscle.

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The scalenus posterior muscle has a considerable amount of variation in its attachments and, thus, its segmental innervation may also vary accordingly.


The scalenus posterior muscle is involved in multiple actions:

- during unilateral contraction, it laterally flexes the neck to the same side at the cervical vertebral joints;

- it elevates the second rib and can act as an accessory muscle of inspiration (Standring, 2016).


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Scalene Muscles

ScienceDirect image

The anterior scalene muscle originates from the transverse processes of the third through sixth cervical vertebrae (C3-C6), inserts on the inner borders and superior surfaces of the first rib, and forms the anterior boundary of the scalene triangle.

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