posterior triangle

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  • 1. Posterior Triangle of the Neck Maribel G. Castro-Enano, M.D. CPU College of Medicine

2. Surface Anatomy of the Neck

  • Spinous process of theaxis first bony prominence that can be felt in the median plane
  • Spinous process of thevertebra prominens(C7) easily palpable when the neck is flexed
  • Thyroid cartilage (Adams apple) at the level of C4; contains 2 quadrilateral plates calledlaminae
  • Hyoid bone u-shaped bone at the level of the body of C3; lie superior to the thyroid cartilage
  • Transverse process of theatlas felt by deep palpation between the angle of the mandible and a point about 1cm anteroinferior to the tip of the mastoid process

3. Surface Anatomy of the Neck

  • Cricoid cartilage inferiorto the thyroid cartilage; lies at the level of C6
  • Tracheal rings palpable in the inferior part of the neck; moves superiorly during swallowing
  • Jugular notch depression in the manubrium of the sternum; easily palpable between the medial ends of the clavicle
  • Sternocleidomastoid muscle hassternal and clavicular heads; divides lateral side of the neck into anterior and posterior triangles
  • Supraclavicular fossa triangular depression between the sternal and clavicular heads of the SCM; contains the pressure point for the subclavian artery

4. Surface Anatomy of the Neck

  • Medial ends of theclavicle clearly visible at the root of the neck
  • Inferior margin of themandible , themastoid processof the temporal bone, and theexternal occipital protuberance bony landmarks of the superior limit of the neck

5. Superficial Structures

  • Superficial Fascia contains theplatysma
  • Platysma wide, thin subcutaneous sheet of striated muscle that ascends to the face from the anterior part of the neck
  • - covers the superior part of the anterior cervical triangle and the anteroinferior part of the posterior cervical triangle
  • Inferior Attachment fascia and skin over the pectoralis major (second rib) and deltoid muscles
  • Superior Attachment inferior border of mandible and skin of the lower face
  • Innervation cervical branch of CN VII
  • Action muscle of facial exrpression; tense the subcutaneous tissue of the neck and assist in depressing the lower lip
  • - produces skin ridges in the neck, releasing pressure of the skin on the the underlying veins

6. Superficial Structures

  • 1. Superficial or Enveloping Layer
  • - surrounds the whole neck
  • - starts off at the back where it is attached to theligamentum nuchae
  • -encloses the trapezius and SCM muscles
  • - contains the accessory nerve as it passes posteriorly and inferiorly from the SCM to the trapezius

7. Superficial Structures

  • 2. Prevertebral Fascia
  • - part of the fascia that envelopes the vertebral column
  • - envelopes the prevertebral and postvertebral muscles of the neck
  • - covers the subclavian vesselsand the roots of the brachial plexus
  • - drawn into the axilla on the brachial plexus and subclavian artery as theaxillary sheath
  • * provides an anatomical course for infections within the posterior compartment of the neck to travel into the axilla

8. Superficial Structures

  • 3. Carotid Sheath
  • - anterior to the prevertebral fascia
  • - invests the common and internal carotid arteries, the internal jugular vein and the vagus nerve

9. Superficial Structures

  • 5. Infrahyoid Fascia
  • - encloses the infrahyoid muscles ( sternothyroid, sternohyoid, thyrohoid and cricohyoid m.)
  • -attaches above either into the hyoid or thyroid muscles and below into the posterior aspect of the manubrium

10. Fascial Layers 11. Superficial Structures

  • 4. Pretracheal Fascia
  • - has 2 layers, the anterior and posterior layers
  • a. anterior layer superiorly attached to the hyoid bone up to the border of the mandible
  • - inferiorly found anterior to the larynx, trachea and thyroid gland and end in front of the great vessels
  • b. posterior layer posterior to the pharynx and esophagus
  • - covers the posterior aspect of the esophagus
  • - the anterior and posterior layers are both attached the the skull

12. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • A. Boundaries
  • - bounded by the middle one-third of the clavicle, SCM muscle and the trapezius muscle
  • - roof : investing fascia
  • - floor: levator scapulae middle position
  • splenius superior to levator scapulae
  • scalenes inferior to levator scapulae
  • semispinalis capitis may appear at the apex of the post. triangle

13. 14. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • SCM Muscle
  • - flex the head when they contract bilaterally
  • - individually, rotates the head toward the opposite side of the body
  • - accessory muscle of respiration
  • Trapezius Muscle
  • - elevates the shoulder girdle and helps to support the weight of the upper limb
  • - lower fibers draw the scapula toward the vertebral column

15. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • A. Boundaries cont
  • - the apex of the triangle projects superiorly behind the ear to the level of thesuperior nuchal lineof the occipital bone, where the SCM and trapezius muscles meet

16. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • SCM and Trapezius Muscles
  • - have a continuous superior attachment from themastoid processto theinion along the superior nuchal line
  • - inferior attachments
  • SCM medial third of clavicle and sternum
  • trapezius lateral third of clavicle, acromion and spine of the scapula
  • - innervated by CN XI

17. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • Contents of the Posterior Triangle
  • 1. Accessory Nerve divides the fascial roof into a superior portion( carefree part ) and a lower portion which contains the cutaneous branches of the cervical plexus
  • 2. Cutaneous Cervical Nerves
    • - innervate the skin of the neck and shoulder region
    • - derived from the anterior rami of cervical nerves 2, 3 and 4

18. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • Cutaneous Cervical Nerves
  • a. lesser occipital nerve supplies the skin posterior to the ear and superficial to the mastoid process
  • b. greater auricular nerve supplies the skin overlying the upper aspect of the SCM, the earlobe and the parotid gland
  • c. transverse cervical nerve innervates skin of the neck overlying the laryngeal prominence
  • d. supraclavicular nerves innervate the skin that is superficial to the clavicle and scapula

19. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • Contents of the Posterior Triangle cont
  • 3. Omohyoid M. a digastric muscle ( 2 bellies)
  • - inferior belly passes through the lower aspect of the posterior triangle as it inserts into the upper margin of the scapula
  • - superior belly in the anterior triangle
  • - intervening tendon bound to the clavicle by a fascial sling
  • 4. External Jugular Vein descends subcutaneously across the SCM and pierces the fascia that forms the roof of the post. triangle
  • - terminates in the subclavian or internal jugular vein at the base of the posterior triangle

20. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • Contents of the Posterior Triangle cont
  • 5. Subclavian Vein continuation of the axillary vein
  • - begins at the lateral border of the first rib and ends medial to the scalenus anterior m. where it joins the internal jugular vein to form the braciocephalic vein
  • 6. Subclavian Artery enters the post. triangle posterior to the insertion of scalenus anterior ( arises from the anterior tubercle of the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae C3-6, inserts into the scalene tubercle of the 1 strib and separates the subclavian artery and vein at its insertion)

21. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • - subclavian artery in the post.triangle may give off adorsal scapular arterywhich traverses through the trunks of the brachial plexus to supply the medial border of the scapula and the rhomboids
  • * Important Relationships Around the Subclavian A.
  • 1. Inferiorly 1st rib and pleura of apex of lung
  • 2. Posteriorly scalenus medius and lower trunk of brachial plexus
  • 3. Anteriorly scalenus anterior

22. Posterior Triangle of the Neck

  • 7. Suprascapular Artery arise from the first part of the subclavian a.
  • - supply the supraspinatus and infraspinatus fossae structures of the scapula


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