Thoracodorsal Artery

Written by Oliver Jones

Last updated October 13, 2023 • 7 Revisions

The thoracodorsal artery is a branch of the subscapular artery that arises in the scapular region of the upper back.

It supplies some of the muscles of the upper back and shoulder.

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The thoracodorsal artery arises on the inferior border of the subscapularis muscle, as a branch of the subscapular artery (itself a branch of the axillary artery).

It then follows the lateral border of the scapula to the inferior angle – supplying branches to the several muscles in the upper back and scapular region.

It enters the apex of the latissimus dorsi muscle, accompanied by the thoracodorsal nerve. Here, it terminates by dividing into several branches which supply the muscle.

Fig 1
The thoracodorsal artery arises from the subscapular artery.


The thoracodorsal artery gives arterial supply to the following muscles:

  • Rotator cuff muscles: subscapularis, supraspinatus and infraspinatus
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Serratus anterior

Fig 2
The superficial muscles of the back

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