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Posterior scalene

Other Terms: Scalenus posterior, Posterior scalene muscle, Posterior scalene, Musculus scalenus posterior, Muscle scalène postérieur

Muscle parts


Latin name

Musculus scalenus posterior

Latin muscle parts



Cervical wall – lateral musculature – external layer


The English name for this muscle is the muscle with three unequal sides that is behind. Scalenus is Latin for “having three unequal sides,” which comes from the Greek skallein meaning “to hoe, or stir up.” The name of the scalene muscles can be traced back to the 17th century French anatomist Jean Riolan. He thought that the three scalenes were one muscle and he envisioned their combined shape as that of an irregular three-sided, or scalene, triangle. Posterior is from the Latin post meaning “behind or after.”


Tips of the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of C4, C5, and C6


External surface of the second rib posterior to the tubercle for the serratus anterior


Laterally flexes the lower cervical vertebrae; elevates the second rib.

Nerve supply

Branches of the ventral rami of cervical spinal nerves (C6, C7, and C8)

Blood supply

The ascending cervical and various muscular branches from the inferior thyroid, which is a branch of the thyrocervical trunk of the subclavian artery, supply the muscle. It also receives blood from the suprascapular artery, the superficial cervical artery, and the first posterior intercostal artery.


Musculus scalenus posterior


Muscle scalène postérieur


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