An uncommon, unilateral motor variation of the intercostobrachial nerve

D. J. van Tonder, D. E. Lorke, T. Nyirenda, N. Keough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intercostobrachial nerve (ICBN) is commonly defined as a purely sensory nerve supplying the skin of the lateral chest wall, axilla, and medial arm. However, numerous branching patterns and distributions, including motor, have been reported. This report describes an uncommon variant of the right ICBN observed in both an 86-year-old white female cadaver and a 77-year-old white male cadaver. In both cases the ICBN presented with an additional muscular branch, termed the “medial pectoral branch”, piercing and therefore innervating the pectoralis major and minor muscles. Clinically, the ICBN is relevant during surgical access to the axilla and can result in sensory deficits (persistent pain/loss of sensory function) to this region following injury. However, damage to the variation observed in these cadavers may result in additional partial motor loss to pectoralis major and minor.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
Issue number354
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Intercostobrachial nerve
  • Lateral cutaneous branch
  • Mastectomy
  • Medial pectoral branch
  • Pectoralis minor
  • Second intercostal nerve


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