The axillary artery

• Course: the axillary artery commences at the lateral border of the 1st rib as a continuation of the subclavian artery (see Fig. 60.1) and ends at the inferior border of teres major where it continues as the brachial artery. The axillary vein is a medial relation throughout its course. It is crossed anteriorly by pectoralis minor which subdivides it into three parts:

• First part (medial to pectoralis minor).

• Second part (behind pectoralis minor)—gives off the lateral thoracic artery (which helps to supply the breast) and the thora-coacromial artery (p. 75).

• Third part (lateral to pectoralis minor)—gives off the subscapular artery which follows the lateral border of the scapula and gives off the circumflex scapular artery.

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