Transverse cervical artery

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Transverse cervical artery
Thyrocervical trunk.png
Superficial dissection of the right side of the neck, showing the carotid and subclavian arteries (transverse cervical artery is labeled, branching from the thyrocervical trunk)
Superficial and deep branches.png
Superficial and deep branches from the transverse cervical artery
Latin Arteria transversa cervicis,
arteria transversa colli
Source Thyrocervical trunk
Branches Superficial branch
Dorsal scapular artery (Deep Branch)
Transverse cervical veins
Supplies The trapezius and Sternocleidomastoid muscles
Gray's p.82
TA A12.2.08.053
FMA 10664
Anatomical terminology

The transverse cervical artery (transverse artery of neck or transversa colli artery) is an artery in the neck and a branch of the thyrocervical trunk, running at a higher level than the suprascapular artery.


It passes transversely above the inferior belly of the omohyoid muscle to the anterior margin of the trapezius, beneath which it divides into a superficial and a deep branch.

It crosses in front of the phrenic nerve and the scalene muscles, and in front of or between the divisions of the brachial plexus, and is covered by the platysma and sternocleidomastoid muscles, and crossed by the omohyoid and trapezius.

The transverse cervical artery splits into two branches, a superficial one and a deep one:


Superficial branch[edit]

It ascends beneath the anterior margin of the trapezius, distributing branches to it, and to the neighboring muscles and lymph glands in the neck, and anastomosing with the superficial branch of the descending branch of the occipital artery.

It has an ascending branch and a descending branch. The descending branch of the transverse cervical artery anastomosises with the deep and dorsal scapular artery which in turn links to the subscapular. This anastomosis is a ring circulation around the scapula where it continues to the suprascapular artery via the circumflex scapular artery.[1]

Deep branch[edit]

The dorsal scapular artery (or descending scapular artery[2]) is a blood vessel which supplies the levator scapulae, rhomboids,[3] and trapezius.

It most frequently arises from the subclavian artery (the second or third part),[2] but a quarter of the time it arises from the transverse cervical artery.[4] In that case, the artery is also known as the deep branch of the transverse cervical artery, and the junction of those two is called cervicodorsal trunk.

It passes beneath the levator scapulae to the superior angle of the scapula, and then descends under the rhomboid muscles along the vertebral border of the scapula as far as the inferior angle.

Additional images[edit]


  1. ^ Moore And Agur. Essential Clinical Anatomy (2002) America: Lippincott Williams Publisher. 2nd Ed.
  2. ^ a b "Scapular artery, dorsal". Medcyclopaedia. GE. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ Huelke DF (1962). "The dorsal scapular artery--a proposed term for the artery to the rhomboid muscles". Anat. Rec. 142: 57–61. doi:10.1002/ar.1091420109. PMID 14449723. 
  4. ^ Reiner A, Kasser R (1996). "Relative frequency of a subclavian vs. a transverse cervical origin for the dorsal scapular artery in humans.". Anat Rec 244 (2): 265–8. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0185(199602)244:2<265::AID-AR14>3.0.CO;2-N. PMID 8808401. 

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

External links[edit]

  • Anatomy photo:01:04-0100 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center – "Muscles of the Back: Spinal Accessory Nerve (CN XI) and Transverse Cervical Vessels"
  • Anatomy figure: 26:03-04 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center – "Branches of the first part of the subclavian artery."