Superior Lateral Cutaneous Nerve of the Arm

Written by Nastasja Gugleta

Last updated June 10, 2024 • 9 Revisions

The superior lateral cutaneous nerve of the arm is a sensory nerve of the upper limb. It is a continuation of the posterior branch of the axillary nerve.

It supplies sensation to the skin overlying the inferior portion of the deltoid muscle.

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Course

The superior lateral cutaneous nerve of the arm arises as a continuation of the posterior branch of the axillary nerve.

The posterior branch of the axillary nerve arises at the level of the surgical neck of the humerus. It moves superficially, piercing the deep fascia at the posterior shoulder region.

As the nerve enters the subcutaneous plane, it becomes the superior lateral cutaneous nerve of the arm. It then curves around the posterior border of the deltoid and terminates as sensory branches to the overlying skin.

Fig 1
The anterior and posterior divisions of the axillary nerve

Sensory Supply

The superior lateral cutaneous nerve of the arm supplies sensation to the skin overlying the inferior portion of the deltoid muscle. It is also known as the “regimental badge” area.

 

Fig 2
The sensory innervation of the superior lateral cutaneous nerve of the arm (the “regimental badge area”).