Cervical Plexus

Original Editor - Evan Thomas

Lead Editors - Evan Thomas, Laura Ritchie, Kim Jackson, WikiSysop and Leana Louw  

Description[edit | edit source]

The cervical plexus is formed by the communication of the anterior divisions of the upper four cervical nerves (C1-4). [1]

Cervical plexus anatomy.png

Location/Path[edit | edit source]

It lies under the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle, opposite the upper four cervical vertebrae. It rests upon the levator anguli scapulae and scalenus medius muscles, and emerges from the posterior border of the SCM.[1]


Branches and Supplied Structures[edit | edit source]


Its branches consist of a superficial and deep set. The superficial branches are the great auricular nerve, lesser occipital nerve, transverse cervical, suprasternal, and supraclavicular nerves. The deep branches are the phrenic, communicantes cervicales, communicating, and muscular.[1]

  • Ansa Cervicalis (C1-3)[3]
    • Superior (C1-2) & inferior (C2-3) roots form loop
    • Sensory: None
    • Motor: Omohyoid, sternohyoid, sternothyroid
  • Lesser Occipital Nerve (C2-3)[3]
    • Arises from posterior border of SCM
    • Sensory: Superior region behind auricle
    • Motor: None
  • Great Auricular Nerve (C2-3)[3]
    • Exits inferior to lesser occipital nerve, ascends on SCM
    • Sensory: Over parotid gland and behind ear
    • Motor: None
  • Transverse Cervical Nerve (C2-3)[3]
    • Exits inferior to greater auricular nerve, then to anterior neck
    • Sensory: Anterior triangle of the neck
    • Motor: None
  • Supraclavicular (C2-3)[3]
    • Splits into 3 branches: anterior, middle, posterior
    • Sensory: Over clavicle, outer trapezius and deltoid
    • Motor: None
  • Phrenic Nerve (C3-5)[3]
    • On anterior scalene, into thorax between subclavian artery and vein
    • Sensory: Pericardium and mediastinal pleura
    • Motor: Diaphragm

Diagram[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.anatomyexpert.com/structure_detail/6560/
  2. fatcat2983472. Cervical Plexus Drawing SO GOOD!!!. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj9J9b8FIIg [last accessed 12/02/16]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Thompson JC (2010). Netter's Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy (2nd ed). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier.
  4. Kiara Rivera. Cervical Plexus Drawing and Spinal Segments - EASY. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nz8-bnZGBI [last accessed 12/02/16]