The axillary artery and its surroundings
|Branches:||Superior thoracic artery, thoracoacromial artery, lateral thoracic artery, subscapular artery, anterior circumflex humeral artery, posterior circumflex humeral artery|
|Arterial supply:||See individual branches|
|Search for Axillary artery in Gray's.|
The axillary artery arises as a continuation of the subclavian artery at the lateral border of the first rib. Its direction varies with the position of the arm, however it always continues distally from its origin. Whilst at its origin it is deep, it has become superficial by the time of passing out from the axilla. Throughout the majority of its course it is covered by pectoralis major, excepting the most distal portion. At the inferior border of teres major, the artery continues as the brachial artery.
The artery is surrounded by the various parts of the brachial plexus. Proximal to pectoralis minor, the plexus lies posteriorly and superiorly to the artery, whilst distally it surrounds the artery as the three cords. Both plexus and artery are surrounded by the axillary sheath, a continuation of the prevertebral fascia.
The artery is crossed by pectoralis minor, which divides it into three parts: first, second and third.
From the lateral border of the first rib to the proximal (anteromedial) border of pectoralis minor.
The portion of the artery posterior to pectoralis minor.
The portion of the artery between the inferolateral border of pectoralis minor and the inferior border of the axilla i.e. the inferior border of teres major. At this point it becomes the brachial artery.
- cords of brachial plexus
- lateral cord of brachial plexus
Arterial Supply to
- Often lacerated in violent injury
- May be ruptured when relocating an old shoulder dislocation if the artery is stuck to the joint capsule
- Branches are extremely variable
- An alar thoracic artery from the second part may supply the tissues of the axilla
- The subscapular artery, anterior circumflex humeral artery, posterior circumflex humeral artery and profunda brachii arise from a common branch, and the brachial plexus will surround this common origin.
- The posterior circumflex humeral artery may arise as a branch of profunda brachii
- An anomalous high division may occur at this level into the radial and ulnar arteries.