The innervation pattern of the clavicular head of the deltoid muscle and its corresponding topography were investigated via cadaveric dissection in the present study, focusing on the lateral pectoral nerve.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Fifty-eight upper extremities were dissected and the nerve supplies to the deltoid muscle and the variability of the lateral pectoral and axillary nerves, including their topographical patterns, were noted.
The clavicular portion of the deltoid muscle received a deltoid branch from the lateral pectoral nerve in 86.2% of cases. Two topographical patterns of the lateral pectoral nerve were observed, depending on the branching level from the brachial plexus: a proximal variant, where the nerve entered the pectoral region undern the clavicle, and a distal variant, where the nerve entered the pectoral region from the axillary fossa around the caudal border of the pectoralis minor. These dissection findings were supported by histological confirmation of peripheral nerve tissue entering the clavicular part of the deltoid muscle.
The topographical variations of the lateral pectoral nerve are relevant for orthopedic and trauma surgeons and neurologists. These new data could revise the interpretation of deltoid muscle atrophy and of thoracic outlet and pectoralis minor compression syndromes. They could also explain the residual anteversion function of the arm after axillary nerve injury and deficiency, which is often thought to be related to biceps brachii muscle function.