The axilla

Trapezius Clavicle

Subclavius

Clavipectoral fascia

Axillary space

Pectoralis minor

Pectoralis major

Fascial floor of axilla

Fascia Clavipectoral

Fig.33.1

Vertical and horizontal sections through the axilla; the planes of the sections are shown in the central diagram

Short head of biceps Coracobrachialis

Long head of biceps (tendon)

Pectoralis minor

Pectoralis major

Lateral cord Axillary artery Medial cord Axillary vein Posterior cord Latissimus dorsi (tendon) Chest wall

Latissimus Dorsi Muscle

Fig.33.1

Vertical and horizontal sections through the axilla; the planes of the sections are shown in the central diagram

Serratus anterior Subscapularis

Cephalic vein

Lateral cord

Lateral pectoral

Musculocutaneous

Median

Fig.33.2

The main contents of the axilla from the front. The posterior cord is hidden behind the axillary artery

C5 C6

Cephalic vein

Lateral pectoral

Musculocutaneous

Medial Pectoral Nerve

Median

Fig.33.2

The main contents of the axilla from the front. The posterior cord is hidden behind the axillary artery

Axillary artery Axillary vein Medial pectoral

Medial cord

Lateral thoracic artery Medial cutaneous of arm

Pectoralis minor

Medial cutaneous of forearm

Ulnar Radial

The major nerves and vessels supplying and draining the upper limb pass through the axilla.

The axilla is a three-sided pyramid. Its apex is the small region between the 1st rib, the clavicle and the scapula through which the major nerves and vessels pass.

The walls of the axilla are composed as follows:

• The anterior wall is made up from the pectoralis major and minor muscles and the clavipectoral fascia.

• The posterior wall is made up of the subscapularis, teres major and latissimus dorsi.

• The medial wall consists of the upper part of serratus anterior, the upper ribs and intercostals.

• The lateral wall is almost non-existent but can be seen as the latis-simus dorsi as it inserts into the floor of the intertubercular (bicipital) sulcus. Running downwards from above are the corachobrachialis and short head of biceps as well as the long head of biceps in the intertubercular sulcus.

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