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Long Thoracic Nerve
Nervous System

Long Thoracic Nerve

Nervus thoracicus longus

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Quick Facts

Origin: C5, C6, and C7 roots of the brachial plexus.

Course: It runs inferiorly down the lateral margin of the ribs.

Branches: No named branches.

Supply: Motor innervation to the serratus anterior muscle.

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Origin

The long thoracic nerve arises from the anterior rami of the fifth to seventh cervical nerves (the C5, C6, and C7 roots of the brachial plexus). Fibers from each of these three roots break off in the neck and merge to form the long thoracic nerve.

Course

The long thoracic nerve runs inferiorly and laterally, passing between the clavicle and the first rib.

It continues inferiorly, posterior to the rest of the brachial plexus, along the lateral margin of the ribs, roughly at the mid-axillary line. Running along the superficial surface of the serratus anterior, it innervates each of the slips of this muscle.

Branches

There are no named branches of the long thoracic nerve. It terminates in the serratus anterior, giving off small unnamed branches to each slip.

Supplied Structures

The long thoracic nerve is a motor nerve whose fibers innervate the serratus anterior muscle.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Winged scapula

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Long Thoracic Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The long thoracic nerve is a proximal branch of the brachial plexus, arising from the proximal C5, C6, and C7 spinal nerves, that innervates the serratus anterior muscle.

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