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Thoracodorsal Nerve
Nervous System

Thoracodorsal Nerve

Nervus thoracodorsalis

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Quick Facts

Origin: Posterior cord of the brachial plexus.

Course: It runs inferiorly in the posterior axilla towards the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Branches: No named branches.

Supply: Motor innervation. Supplies the latissimus dorsi muscle.

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The thoracodorsal nerve arises from the posterior cord of the brachial plexus where it is typically the second of the three branches, originating between the upper and lower subscapular nerves. It contains fibers from spinal cord segments C6, C7, and C8.


The thoracodorsal nerve emerges from the posterior cord of the brachial plexus in the axilla. It emerges posterior to the second part of the axillary artery and runs inferiorly on the posterior wall of the axilla. It runs with the subscapular artery to the deep surface of the latissimus dorsi muscle.


There are no named branches of the thoracodorsal nerve. It terminates in the muscle it innervates.

Supplied Structures

The thoracodorsal nerve is a motor nerve whose fibers innervate the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Thoracodorsal Nerve

ScienceDirect image

Thoracodorsal nerve fibrous entrapment in a surgical scar was identified as the cause of focal spontaneous arrhythmic contractions (“myoclonus”) of the latissimus dorsi (Carnero-Pardo et al., 1998).

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