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Lateral Cutaneous Branch of Fourth Intercostal Nerve (Left)
Nervous System

Lateral Cutaneous Branch of Fourth Intercostal Nerve (Left)

Ramus cutaneus lateralis nervi intercostalis quarti

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Origin

The lateral cutaneous branch of anterior ramus of fourth thoracic nerve (or fourth intercostal nerve) arises from the anterior ramus of the fourth thoracic nerve roughly along the mid-axillary line.

Course

The lateral cutaneous branch may travel for a short distance with its parent nerve (the anterior ramus) within the intercostal space. It then pierces the thoracic wall through the internal and external intercostal muscles, emerging just anterior to the serratus anterior muscle.

Branches

The lateral cutaneous branch further subdivides into anterior and posterior branches. The anterior branches extend towards the pectoralis major, while the posterior branches extend backwards towards the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Supplied Structures & Function

The lateral cutaneous branch of the fourth intercostal nerve (or anterior ramus of fourth thoracic nerve) conveys sensory innervation from the skin overlying the fourth intercostal space, at the same level as the nipple. See our dermatome map for cutaneous innervation.

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Intercostal Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The intercostal nerve frequently runs within the middle of the intercostal space (73% of the time) and occasionally courses along the inferior aspect of the intercostal space just above the subjacent rib (Hardy, 1988).

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