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Brachial plexus

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the two main parts of the brachial plexus.
  2. Name the structures (roots, trunks, divisions, cords) that form the brachial plexus.
  3. Name the lateral and terminal branches of the brachial plexus and their supply areas.

Watch videos

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves originating in the neck region, passing between the anterior and middle scalene muscles. It passes through the axilla where many peripheral nerves arise that course through the upper limb to innervate the muscles, joints and skin. It can be divided into two main parts: supraclavicular and infraclavicular. The supraclavicular part (roots and trunks with their branches) of the brachial plexus is located in the posterior triangle of the neck, while its infraclavicular part (cords and their branches) is in the axilla. The brachial plexus gives off lateral branches (anterior and posterior) and five major terminal branches.

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the brachial plexus.

Learning the anatomy of the brachial plexus can be a real challenge, but no worries, we have prepared a video with a number of mnemonics that will help you memorize all structures of the brachial plexus.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the videos about the brachial plexus, test your knowledge by taking our quiz.

To shift your focus and choose the topics you’ll get quizzed on, try out our customizable quiz:

Download the following PDF worksheets in order to learn all the parts of the brachial plexus.


Browse atlas

Now you can take a closer look at the components of the brachial plexus with our image gallery: 


Key points about the brachial plexus
Roots C5, C6, C7, C8, T1
Structural organization Trunks: Superior, middle, inferior
: Three anterior and three posterior
: Posterior, lateral and medial
Supraclavicular preterminal branches Dorsal scapular nerve, suprascapular nerve, long thoracic nerve and subclavian nerve
Infraclavicular preterminal branches Lateral pectoral nerve, medial pectoral nerve, medial cutaneous nerve of the arm, medial cutaneous nerve of the forearm, upper subscapular nerve, thoracodorsal nerve and lower subscapular nerve.
Terminal branches Musculocutaneous nerve, axillary nerve, median nerve, radial nerve, ulnar nerve
Function Complete sensory and motor innervation of the arm

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