Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Innervation of the clavicle: a cadaveric investigation


Background This cadaveric study investigated the innervations of the clavicle and clavicular joints (ie, sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints).

Methods Twenty cadavers (40 clavicles) were dissected. A skin incision was made to permit exposure of the posterior cervical triangle and infraclavicular fossa. The platysma, sternocleidomastoid, and trapezius muscles were cleaned in order to identify the supraclavicular nerves. Subsequently, the suprascapular and subclavian nerves were localized after removal of the prevertebral layer of the deep cervical fascia. In the infraclavicular region, the pectoralis major and minor muscles were retracted laterally in order to visualize the lateral pectoral nerve. The contribution of all these nerves to the clavicular bone and joints were recorded.

Results Along their entire length, all clavicular specimens received contributions from the supraclavicular nerves. The latter innervated the cephalad and ventral aspects of the clavicular bone. The caudal and dorsal aspects of the clavicle were innervated by the subclavian nerve (middle and medial thirds). The lateral pectoral nerve supplied the caudad aspect of the clavicle (middle and lateral thirds). The sternoclavicular joint derived its innervation solely from the supraclavicular nerves whereas the acromioclavicular joint was supplied by the supraclavicular and lateral pectoral nerves.

Conclusion The clavicle and clavicular joints are innervated by the subclavian, lateral pectoral, and supraclavicular nerves. Clinical trials are required to determine the relative importance and functional contribution of each nerve.

  • upper extremity
  • pain management
  • nerve block

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information. Not applicable.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.