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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


MARDONES VALDIVIESO, Felipe  and  RODRIGUEZ TORRES, Alberto. Levator Scapulae Muscle: Blood Supply and Innervation. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2006, vol.24, n.3, pp.363-368. ISSN 0717-9502.

The use of muscular flaps as a reconstructive tool requires a thorough anatomical knowledge of its blood supply and innervation. Although surgical applications of the levator scapulae muscle have contributed to this matter, there are still questions regarding these morphologic features. In this study, 11 human corpses were used (8 males and 3 females), with an average age of 70 years. In 7 of these, an arterial repletion was performed prior to dissection. The latter was done in a step-wise manner in both sides of 9 cervical and scapular regions and in 2 cases, only one side. Several aspects of the arterial blood supply and innervation of the muscle were analyzed. We identified 4 possible sources for arterial irrigation: Vertebral (V), ascending (AC) and transverse cervical (TC) and dorsal scapular (DE). Overall, the blood supply occurred as a combination of the above, with TC and DE providing the dominant pedicles in most cases. Differences were noted in the effective muscular irrigation between the arteries, wich was 100% for V, 80% for AC, 85% for TC and 55% for DE. Regarding the location of the vascular pedicles, V irrigated the muscle origins, AC irrigated the upper segment, whereas TC and DE irrigated the middle and lower muscle segments. Based on the Mathes and Nahai classification, the majority had a type V irrigation pattern. In most cases, the innervation came from the third and fourth spinal cervical nerve (C3 and C4), although the fifth spinal cervical nerve (C5) also participated through the dorsal scapular nerve. The motor points for C3 and C4 were located in the upper segment of the muscle, whereas for C5 it was located in the lower segment. Due to its generous and heterogeneous arterial supply and segmentary innervation, the muscle is a good alternative to consider if it is to be used as a reconstructive flap

Keywords : Blood supply; Innervation; Levator scapulae muscle.

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