Suprascapular artery

The suprascapular artery is a branch of the thyrocervical trunk on the neck.

Suprascapular artery
Thyrocervical trunk with branches, including suprascapular artery.
The scapular and circumflex arteries. (Transverse scapular visible at top.)
SourceThyrocervical trunk
VeinSuprascapular vein
SuppliesSupraspinatus muscle, Infraspinatus muscle,(sternocleidomastoid), (subclavius)
LatinArteria suprascapularis,
arteria transversa scapulae
Anatomical terminology


At first, it passes downward and laterally across the scalenus anterior and phrenic nerve, being covered by the sternocleidomastoid muscle; it then crosses the subclavian artery and the brachial plexus, running behind and parallel with the clavicle and subclavius muscle and beneath the inferior belly of the omohyoid to the superior border of the scapula. It passes over the superior transverse scapular ligament (unlike the suprascapular nerve, which passes below the ligament).[1][2]

The artery then enters the supraspinous fossa of the scapula. It travels close to the bone, running between the scapula and the supraspinatus muscle, to which it supplies branches.

It then descends behind the neck of the scapula, through the great scapular notch and under cover of the inferior transverse ligament, to reach the infraspinatous fossa, where it supplies infraspinatus[3] and anastomoses with the scapular circumflex artery and the descending branch (aka dorsal scapular artery) of the transverse cervical artery.


Besides distributing branches to the sternocleidomastoid (which, however, mainly is supplied by the occipital artery and the superior thyroid artery), subclavius (which mainly is supplied by the thoracoacromial artery), and neighboring muscles, it gives off a suprasternal branch, which crosses over the sternal end of the clavicle to the skin of the upper part of the chest; and an acromial branch, which pierces the trapezius and supplies the skin over the acromion, anastomosing with the thoracoacromial artery. Just as with supplying the subclavius muscle, it anastomoses with the thoracoacromial artery in supplying skin areas.

As the artery passes over the superior transverse scapular ligament, it sends a branch into the subscapular fossa, where it ramifies beneath the subscapularis, and anastomoses with the subscapular artery and with the dorsal scapular artery.

It also sends articular branches to the acromioclavicular joint and the shoulder joint, and a nutrient artery to the clavicle.


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 582 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  2. Scapular Region
  3. Moore, Keith (2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Wolters-Kluwer. pp. 716–718. ISBN 978-1-4511-1945-9.
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