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Here is a quick mnemonic/memory aid “LATERAL THORACIC ARTERY to remember Lateral Thoracic Artery important facts

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Lateral Thoracic Artery : How To Remember Easily ?

  • Long thoracic origin from axillary artery: The lateral thoracic artery, also known as the external mammary artery, originates from the axillary artery. This vessel supplies oxygenated blood to the lateral structures of the thorax and breast.
  • Arterial course beneath pectoralis minor: After its origin, this artery courses beneath the pectoralis minor muscle, following a path that takes it towards the side of the chest.
  • Targets Serratus anterior and Pectoralis major: As it continues its journey, the lateral thoracic artery supplies the Serratus anterior muscle and the Pectoralis major muscle. These muscles are important components of the chest wall.
  • External mammary supply in females: In females, this artery also provides an external mammary branch. This branch turns around the free edge of the Pectoralis major muscle and supplies the mammary glands or breasts.
  • Runs along chest side, branches to axillary nodes: The artery runs along the lateral side of the chest, following the lower border of the Pectoralis minor muscle. It sends branches across the axilla, contributing to the blood supply of the axillary lymph nodes.
  • Anastomoses with internal thoracic artery: The lateral thoracic artery has connections with other arteries, including the internal thoracic artery. These anastomoses ensure a continuous blood supply to the chest and breast region.
  • Links with subscapular and intercostal arteries: Additionally, it forms connections with the subscapular artery and intercostal arteries, further enhancing the vascular network in this region.
  • Thoracoacromial artery as an alternative source: While it most commonly arises from the axillary artery, it’s worth noting that the lateral thoracic artery can also have an alternative source, such as the thoracoacromial artery.
  • Highly variable origins, six types reported: The origin of the lateral thoracic artery can vary significantly among individuals, with six different types documented based on its source.
  • Often covered by pectoralis major muscle: Along its course, this artery is typically covered by the pectoralis major muscle, adding a layer of protection.
  • Regularly anastomoses with internal thoracic artery: The artery maintains an important connection with the internal thoracic artery, ensuring a reliable blood supply to the structures it serves.
  • Axillary lymph node supply and more: In addition to its role in supplying muscles and breast tissue, the lateral thoracic artery plays a crucial role in providing blood to the axillary lymph nodes.
  • Commonly supplies the anterior thoracic wall: Its branches contribute to the blood supply of the anterior thoracic wall, making it a significant component of the chest’s vascular network.
  • Intercostal branches in the vascular network: The artery also provides intercostal branches, further extending its influence within the thoracic region.
  • Contribution to breast blood flow: It contributes to the blood flow within the breast, playing a key role in supporting breast health and function.
  • Arterial flow in the lateral thorax: This artery’s flow pattern is primarily situated in the lateral thorax region, encompassing the chest’s lateral structures.
  • Runs beneath pectoralis minor’s border: Its path takes it beneath the lower border of the pectoralis minor muscle, allowing it to reach its intended targets.
  • Typical termination around the fifth intercostal space: The artery generally terminates around the fifth intercostal space, where its branches provide vital blood supply to the surrounding structures.
  • External mammary artery in females: In females, this artery’s external mammary branch is especially important due to its role in supplying the mammary glands.
  • Replacement by intercostal branches in rare cases: In rare instances, the lateral thoracic artery may be absent, and its function could be taken over by branches of the intercostal arteries.
  • Your mnemonic for lateral thoracic artery: This mnemonic serves as a helpful tool for remembering the key aspects of the lateral thoracic artery’s anatomy and function.


Dr. Arin Nandi

Passionate About Medical Science & Helping Future Doctors Achieve Top Ranks In Medical Exams. He is professionally a dentist as well as a public health expert from JIPMER (1), (2)working in health department