Undocumented variant branching pattern of axillary artery


  • Suman . Department of Anatomy, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
  • Sunita Kalra Department of Anatomy, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
  • Sarika Rachel Tigga Department of Anatomy, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India




Aberrant artery, Axillary artery, Lateral thoracic artery, Thoracodorsal artery, Variation


During routine dissection for teaching under graduate medical students, an atypical case of variant branching pattern in second and third part of the axillary artery was discovered. The posterior circumflex humeral artery and subscapular artery arose as a common trunk from third part of axillary artery. Also, subscapular artery was a small branch whereas lateral thoracic artery was the largest branch of axillary artery which was totally unusual. The lateral thoracic artery supplied second and third intercostal spaces, axillary fat, subscapularis, serratus anterior, teres major and lattisimus dorsi muscles. Also there was an aberrant branch arising from the second part of axillary artery which was observed to be coursing towards the shoulder joint. The co-existance of variant branches along with the extra aberrant artery found in this case is exceptional. The knowledge about this kind of variation is important for vascular surgeons and radiologists for repair of vessels; diagnostic and therapeutic angiography in addition to various skin flaps and muscle transfers for upper extremity and breast reconstruction.


Evans DM, Lee J, Tickle C, Tytherleigh-strong G. Pectoral girdle and upper limb. In: Standring S. Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. 40th Ed., Spain, Elsevier. 2008;815-7.

Pandey SK, Gangopadhyay AN, Tripathi SK, Shukla VK. Anatomical variations in termination of the axillary artery and its clinical implications. Med Sci Law. 2004;44:61-6.

Bagoji IB, Hadimani GA, Bannur BM, Patil BG, Bharatha A. Unique branching pattern of the axillary artery: a case report. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013;7(12):2939-40.

Olinger A, Benninger B. Branching patterns of the lateral thoracic, subscapular, and posterior circumflex humeral arteries and their relationship to the posterior cord of the brachial plexus. Clinical Anat. 2010;23:407-12.

Plessis LM, Owens DG, Kinsella Jr CR, Litchfield CR, Lu NAO, Tubbs RS. The lateral thoracic artery revisited. Surg Radiol Anat. 2014;36:543-49.

van Deventer PV, Page BJ, Graewe FR. The safety of pedicles in breast reduction and mastopexy procedures. Aest Plast Surg. 2008;32:307-12.

O’Dey D, Prescher A, Pallaa N. Vascular reliability of nipple–areolar complex-bearing pedicles: an anatomical microdissection study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007;119:1167-77.




How to Cite

., S., Kalra, S., & Tigga, S. R. (2016). Undocumented variant branching pattern of axillary artery. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 4(11), 5068–5070. https://doi.org/10.18203/2320-6012.ijrms20163820



Case Reports