Connection lost. Please refresh the page.
Online
EN | DE | PT | ES Get help How to study Login Register

Cervical plexus: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more. Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver

Cervical plexus

Learning objectives:

This is study unit will enable you to:

  1. Understand the complex anatomy of the cervical plexus.
  2. List all of the nerves arising from this plexus.
  3. Name the structures supplied by these nerves.

Watch videos

The cervical plexus is a nervous plexus formed by the anterior rami of the first four spinal nerves (C1-C4). It is located in the upper cervical region, deep to the sternocleidomastoid muscle and anterolateral to the levator scapulae and middle scalene muscles. 

The plexus consists of two main groups of nerve branches: muscular (deep) branches and cutaneous (superficial) branches. The muscular branches of the cervical plexus are located deep to the sensory branches. They supply some of the muscles of the neck, back and diaphragm. The cutaneous branches of the cervical plexus supply the skin of the neck, upper thorax, scalp and ear. 

The cervical plexus also provides contributions to the accessory and hypoglossal nerves (CN XI/XII), in addition to receiving fibers from the sympathetic trunk (via the superior cervical ganglion).

To learn more about the anatomy of the cervical plexus you can watch the video below.

Take a quiz

Are you ready to test your knowledge about the cervical plexus? Try our quiz!

Was this quiz too easy for you? With our custom quizzes, you can customize the difficulty based on your knowledge level. Give it a try with our custom quiz about the neurovasculature of the head and neck:

Browse atlas

Summary

Key facts about the cervical plexus
Definition Nervous plexus formed by the anterior rami of the spinal nerves C1-C4.
Deep/muscular branches Superior root of ansa cervicalis (C1): Thyrohyoid muscle
Inferior root of ansa cervicalis (C2-C3):
Most of the infrahyoid muscles (omohyoid, sternohyoid and sternothyroid muscles)
Phrenic nerve (C3-C5 → mainly C4):
Diaphragm (+ sensory innervation of the central tendon of the diaphragm and pericardium)
Segmental branches:
Rectus capitis anterior, rectus capitis lateralis, longus colli, longus capitis muscles
Superficial/cutaneous branches Lesser occipital nerve (C2): Skin of the neck and scalp posterior to the auricle of the ear
Great auricular nerve (C2-C3):
Skin over the parotid gland, posterior to the auricle and the mastoid area
Transverse cervical nerve (C2-C3):
Anterior and lateral parts of the neck
Supraclavicular nerve (C3-C4):
Shoulder and clavicular regions

Well done!

Related articles

Continue your learning

Keep exploring this region with our comprehensive study units on the muscles and neurovasculature of the anterior neck:

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!