Regional anatomy of the thorax

Regional / topographic anatomy of the thoraxKey facts about the topographic relations of the thorax. Fascia. Triangles
~ 6 min

Within the chest region, several fasciae cover the muscles:

  • Superficial pectoral fascia (fascia superficialis pectoralis) It participates in the formation of a capsule (sleeve) for the mammary gland, and the suspensory ligaments of the mammary gland (ligg. suspensoria mammaria) divide it into lobules

    Superficial pectroral fascia (fascia superficialis pectoralis)
    Superficial pectroral fascia (fascia superficialis pectoralis)
  • The pectoral fascia (fascia pectoralis) is considered the deeper fascia.

It is formed by superficial and deep laminae, which form the sheath of the pectoralis major muscle.

Pectoral fascia (fascia pectoralis)
Pectoral fascia (fascia pectoralis)

The deep lamina also forms the sheath for the pectoralis minor muscles. In this region, the deep lamina is also called the clavipectoral fascia (fascia clavipectoralis).

In the region of the axillary cavity, the fasciae seem to intertwine with each other and form a suspensory ligament of the armpit (lig. suspensorium axillae).

The endothoracic fascia (fascia endothoracica) is considered the deepest, it lines the internal surface of the thoracic cage.

Endothoracic fascia (fascia endothoracica)
Endothoracic fascia (fascia endothoracica)

There are also several important topographic formations in the chest region.

  • The deltopectoral groove (sulcus deltoideopectoralis) is the groove between the pectoralis major muscle and the margin of the deltoid muscle. This is where the deltoid branch of the thoraco-acromial artery (ramus deltoideus a. thoracoacromialis) and cephalic vein (vena cephalica) pass

  • At the margin of the clavicle, this groove expands in the form of the infraclavian fossa (fossa infraclavicularis).

  • The intercostal space (spatium intercostale) is the space between two adjacent ribs that is filled with fatty tissue. There is an intercostal fissure within the intercostal space, in which intercostal vessels and nerves are located.

    They go in the following order from top to bottom (VAN):

    Vein Artery Nerve

    Intercostal space (spatium intercostale)
    Intercostal space (spatium intercostale)

    Next, let’s learn about the triangles of the chest area:

    Clavipectoral triangle (trigonum clavipectorale). This triangle has the following borders:

  • The superior border is the clavicle

  • The inferior border is the superior border of the pectoralis minor muscle

  • Contents: axillary artery and vein, medial bundle of the brachial plexus

    Clavipectoral triangle (trigonum clavipectorale)
    Clavipectoral triangle (trigonum clavipectorale)

    Pectoral triangle (trigonum pectorale). Corresponds to the contours of the pectoralis minor muscle

    Contents: lateral thoracic artery, long thoracic nerve

    Pectoral triangle (trigonum pectorale)
    Pectoral triangle (trigonum pectorale)

    Subpectoral triangle (trigonum subpectorale). It is located between the lower edges of the pectoralis minor and major muscles, as well as the anterior margin of the deltoid muscle.

    Contents: axillary artery and vein, subscapular artery, anterior and posterior circumflex humeral artery, median nerve, musculocutaneous nerve, and ulnar nerve.

    Subpectoral triangle (trigonum subpectorale)
    Subpectoral triangle (trigonum subpectorale)

    Also, within the chest region, there are several intercellular spaces, which are filled with connective tissue and fatty tissue.

  • Superficial subpectoral space (spatium subpectorale superficiale) is located between the pectoral and clavipectoral fasciae.

  • Deep subpectoral space (spatium subpectorale profundum) is located under the clavipectoral fascia

  • Retromammary space (spatium retromammarium) is located between the superficial fascia of the chest and the pectoral fascia


Regional anatomy of the thorax

Superficial pectroral fascia
fascia superficialis pectoralis
Suspensory ligaments of the breast
ligg. suspensoria mammaria
Pectoral fascia
fascia pectoralis
Clavipectoral fascia
fascia clavipectoralis
Suspensory ligament of axilla
lig. suspensorium axillae
Endothoracic fascia
fascia endothoracica
Deltopectoral groove
sulcus deltoideopectoralis
Infraclavicular fossa
fossa infraclavicularis
Intercostal space
spatium intercostale
Clavipectoral triangle
trigonum clavipectorale
Pectoral triangle
trigonum pectorale
Subpectoral triangle
trigonum subpectorale
Superficial sub-pectoral space
spatium subpectorale superficiale
Deep sub-pectoral space
spatium subpectorale profundum
Retromammary space
spatium retromammarium
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