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What You Need to Know About the Transverse Cervical Artery

The transverse cervical artery is an important blood vessel located in the neck region. It plays a crucial role in supplying oxygenated blood to various structures in the neck and shoulder area. Understanding the anatomy and function of this artery is essential for healthcare professionals and individuals interested in learning more about the human body. In this article, we will explore what you need to know about the transverse cervical artery.

Anatomy of the Transverse Cervical Artery:
The transverse cervical artery, also known as the cervicodorsal trunk, arises from the subclavian artery, which is a major blood vessel originating from the aorta. It typically branches off from the subclavian artery at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra (C6). The artery then ascends obliquely across the neck, passing behind the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is a large muscle responsible for neck movements.

Function and Blood Supply:
The transverse cervical artery supplies blood to various structures in the neck and shoulder region. Its branches include the dorsal scapular artery, which provides blood to the rhomboid muscles and levator scapulae muscle, and the ascending cervical artery, which supplies blood to the deep muscles of the neck.

Additionally, the transverse cervical artery gives rise to the superficial cervical artery, which plays a crucial role in supplying blood to the trapezius muscle, as well as the skin and subcutaneous tissues of the neck and upper back. This artery also anastomoses, or connects, with other arteries in the region, ensuring adequate blood supply to these structures.

Clinical Significance:
Understanding the transverse cervical artery is important in clinical practice. Surgeons performing neck surgeries or procedures in the shoulder region need to be aware of its location and potential variations. Injury to this artery during surgical procedures can lead to significant bleeding and complications.

Moreover, knowledge of the transverse cervical artery is essential for healthcare professionals when assessing patients with neck and shoulder pain. In some cases, reduced blood flow through this artery can result in ischemia, or inadequate blood supply, to the muscles and tissues it serves. This can lead to symptoms such as muscle weakness, pain, and limited range of motion.

In rare cases, abnormalities or variations in the transverse cervical artery’s anatomy may be present. These variations can include an aberrant origin or course of the artery, which may increase the risk of injury during surgical procedures or cause compression on nearby structures. Awareness of these variations is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

Conclusion:
The transverse cervical artery is an important blood vessel in the neck and shoulder region. Its branches supply blood to various muscles and tissues, ensuring their proper function. Understanding the anatomy and function of this artery is essential for healthcare professionals and individuals interested in learning more about the human body. Awareness of its location, variations, and clinical significance can help prevent complications during surgical procedures and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of related conditions.