Branches of the Brachial Plexus and their Distribution

Branches of the Brachial Plexus and their Distribution

  • Roots
    • Dorsal scapular nerve (C5)
      • Rhomboid minor
      • Rhomboid major
      • Levator scapulae muscles
    • Long thoracic nerve (C5, 6, 7)
      • Serratus anterior muscle
  • Upper Trunk
    • Suprascapular nerve (C5, 6)
      • Supraspinatus
      • Infraspinatus muscles
    • Nerve to subclavius (C5, 6)
      • Subclavius
  • Lateral Cord
    • Lateral pectoral nerve (C5, 6, 7)
      • Pectoralis major muscle
    • Musculocutaneous nerve (C5, 6, 7)
      • Coracobrachialis,
      • Biceps brachii,
      • Brachialis muscles;
      • Supplies skin along lateral border of forearm when it becomes the lateral cutaneous nerve of forearm
    • Lateral root of median nerve (C5, 6, 7)
      • See medial root of median nerve
  • Posterior Cord
    • Upper subscapular nerve (C5, 6)
      • Subscapularis muscle
    • Thoracodorsal nerve (C6, 7, 8)
      • Latissimus dorsi muscle
    • Lower subscapular nerve (C5, 6)
      • Subscapularis 
      • Teres major muscles
    • Axillary nerve (C5, 6)
      • Deltoid and
      • Teres minor muscles;
      • Upper lateral cutaneous nerve of arm supplies skin over lower half of deltoid muscle
    • Radial nerve (C5, 6, 7, 8; T1)
      • Triceps,
      • Anconeus,
      • Part of brachialis,
      • Extensor carpi radialis longus;
      • via deep radial nerve branch supplies
        • Extensor muscles of forearm: supinator, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor digitorum, extensor digiti minimi, extensor indicis, abductor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis brevis;
        • skin
        • Lower lateral cutaneous nerve of arm
        • Posterior cutaneous nerve of arm
        • Posterior cutaneous nerve of forearm
        • Skin on lateral side of dorsum of hand and
        • Dorsal surface of lateral three and a half fingers
        • Articular branches to elbow, wrist, and hand
  • Medial Cord
    • Medial pectoral nerve (C8; T1)
      • Pectoralis major and minor muscles
    • Medial cutaneous nerve of arm joined by intercostal brachial nerve from second intercostal nerve (C8; T1, 2)
      • Skin of medial side of arm
    • Medial cutaneous nerve of forearm (C8; T1)
      • Skin of medial side of forearm
    • Ulnar nerve (C8; T1)
      • Flexor carpi ulnaris 
      • Medial half of flexor digitorum profundus
      • Flexor digiti minimi
      • Opponens digiti minimi
      • Abductor digiti minimi
      • Adductor pollicis
      • Third and fourth lumbricals
      • Interossei, palmaris brevis
      • Skin of medial half of dorsum of hand and palm
      • Skin of palmar and dorsal surfaces of medial one and a half fingers
    • Medial root of median nerve (with lateral root) forms median nerve (C5, 6, 7, 8; T1)
      • Pronator teres
      • Flexor carpi radialis
      • Palmaris longus
      • Flexor digitorum superficialis
      • Abductor pollicis brevis
      • Flexor pollicis brevis
      • Opponens pollicis
      • First two lumbricals (by way of anterior interosseous branch)
      • Flexor pollicis longus
      • Flexor digitorum profundus (lateral half)
      • Pronator quadratus
      • Palmar cutaneous branch to lateral half of palm and digital branches to palmar surface of lateral three and a half fingers
      • Articular branches to elbow, wrist, and carpal joints
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