Choose article

Supraclavicular nerves

The supraclavicular nerves (Latin: nervi supraclaviculares) are three sensory cutaneous branches of the cervical plexus that originate as a common trunk from the anterior rami of the third and fourth cervical spinal nerves (C3 and C4).

The common trunk emerges at the posterior margin of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and descends within the posterior neck triangle, passing under the deep cervical fascia and platysma. As the common trunk reaches the clavicle, it divides into three branches - medial (anterior), intermediate and lateral (posterior). These branches continue to descend and pierce the deep cervical fascia slightly above the clavicle.

The medial (anterior) supraclavicular nerve extends downward and medially across the external jugular vein and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. It innervates the sternoclavicular joint, as well as the skin of the chest, as far as the midline and as low as the level of the second rib.

The intermediate supraclavicular nerve crosses the middle aspect of the clavicle and supplies the skin over the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles as low as the second rib. Here the innervation zone of the intermediate supraclavicular nerve borders with the chest region innervated by the second thoracic nerve.

The lateral (posterior) supraclavicular nerve descends, crosses over the lateral end of the clavicle and runs across the trapezius muscle and the acromion of the scapula. This nerve innervates the skin of the superior and posterior aspects of the shoulder.





  1. Gray, H., & Carter, H. (2021). Gray’s Anatomy (Leatherbound Classics) (Leatherbound Classic Collection) by F.R.S. Henry Gray (2011) Leather Bound (2010th Edition). Barnes & Noble.
  2. Tubbs, S. R., Rizk, E., Shoja, M., Loukas, M., Barbaro, N., & Spinner, R. J. (2015). Nerves and Nerve Injuries: Vol 1: History, Embryology, Anatomy, Imaging, and Diagnostics (1st ed.). Academic Press.
  3. Rea, P. (2016). Essential Clinically Applied Anatomy of the Peripheral Nervous System in the Head and Neck (1st ed.). Academic Press.