Transversus thoracis muscle

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Transversus thoracis muscle
Transversus thoracis.png
Posterior surface of sternum and costal cartilages, showing transversus thoracis.
Latin Musculus transversus thoracis
Costal cartilages of last 3-4 true ribs, body of sternum and xiphoid process
Ribs/costal cartilages 2-6
Intercostal arteries
Intercostal nerves
Actions Depresses ribs
Gray's p.403
TA A04.4.01.016
FMA FMA:9760
Anatomical terms of muscle

The transversus thoracis muscle (/trænzˈvɛrsəs θəˈrsɨs/) lies internal to the thoracic cage, anteriorly. It is a thin plane of muscular and tendinous fibers, situated upon the inner surface of the front wall of the chest. It is in the same layer as the subcostal muscles and the innermost intercostal muscles.

It arises on either side from the lower third of the posterior surface of the body of the sternum, from the posterior surface of the xiphoid process, and from the sternal ends of the costal cartilages of the lower three or four true ribs.

Its fibers diverge upward and lateralward, to be inserted by slips into the lower borders and inner surfaces of the costal cartilages of the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs.

The lowest fibers of this muscle are horizontal in their direction, and are continuous with those of the transversus abdominis; the intermediate fibers are oblique, while the highest are almost vertical.

This muscle varies in its attachments, not only in different subjects, but on opposite sides of the same subject.

The muscle is supplied by the anterior rami of the thoracic spinal nerves (intercostal nerves).


It is almost completely without function, but it separates the thoracic cage from the parietal pleura. It depresses the ribs.

Contraction of this muscle aids in exertional expiration by decreasing the transverse diameter of the thoracic cage.

Additional images[edit]


This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

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