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099 The Branches Of The Axillary Artery

In this episode, Leslie teaches us a fun and easy way to remember the six branches of the axillary artery which include which include the Superior Thoracic artery, Thoracoacromial artery, Lateral Thoracic artery, Subscapular artery, Posterior Circumflex Humeral artery and the Anterior Circumflex humeral artery.


Transcript of Today’s Episode

Essential Anatomy

Check Out Essential Anatomy in the App Store

Hello and welcome to another episode of Interactive-Biology TV where we’re making Biology fun! My name is Leslie Samuel and this video is brought to you by our sponsors over at, the creators of this app. This is an iPhone app that I am using for Anatomy. It’s a 3D app and it’s called Essential Anatomy.

They created this app and a number of other apps that I’ll be using in this video tutorial. So, if you are interested in getting this app, check them out in the App store. This one is called Essential Anatomy and it’s pretty awesome. I must say that it is pretty awesome.

The Six Main Branches of the Axillary Artery

In this video, what I’m going to be doing is I’m going to be looking at the branches of the axillary artery. There are six main branches that come off the axillary artery. In order to remember the sequence and also to give you a hint as to the names of the arteries, I want you to remember HoTeL SPA.

You probably noticed that I capitalized some of the letters but, not all of them. That would be  H-T-L-S-P-A. If you can remember this, you can remember the order of the arteries, the branches that are coming off of the axillary artery and it gives you the first letter of the name of the arteries.

So, let’s look at those branches. This is our axillary artery and the first branch that we’re going to look at in this app, it shows it’s coming off of the axillary artery. One thing I want to let you know, arteries are very, very variable. If you look in a cadaver, it doesn’t typically look like in the textbook picture that you see. You’ll see a lot of variability with that.

Superior Thoracic Artery

The first one is the superior thoracic artery. That’s also called the highest thoracic artery. So, that’s the “H” of the HoTeL SPA. Here, it shows it to you coming off of the subclavian artery. I want you to remember it as coming off of the axillary artery. It can come off of either. That’s the first branch, the highest or the superior thoracic artery. You can see that’s going down here and getting the first two intercostal spaces. That’s the superior thoracic artery, artery number one.

Thoracoacromial Artery

The second letter in the sequence was the “T” and that stands for thoracoacromial artery or specifically, we have the thoracoacromial trunk which is this very short region. But, if I look at that artery… let’s fade our everything else. Pretty sweet, how you can do that on this app, huh? I know!

If I look at that, I will see that there are four branches coming off of that thoracoacromial artery. It doesn’t show the individual names of those arteries here but, I want you to remember them. And, an easy way to remember them is kind of like A-B-C-D but, instead of that, we’re going to say, A-P-C-D, very similar, A-P-C-D. The A stands for “acromial.” The P stands for “pectoral” (it’s kind of hard to write the way I’m holding the iPad right now). Then, we have our “clavicular” and our “deltoid.”

A – Acromial
P – pectoral
C – clavicular
D – deltoid

That kind of gives you an idea of where those arteries are going. If you don’t like the A-P-C-D, you can remember it as C-A-D-P, “cadavers are dead people.” All right? Pretty easy to remember. Whichever one of these penumonic devices you want to use, you can use. So, acromial, pectoral, clavicular, and deltoid. If I were to name these (let me erase these from now and move this up and turn it around a little bit), I would call this the acromial artery. It’s going there towards the acromion process.

Then, our P, the pectoral, that’s this guy here that descends in between pectoralis major and minor and it’s going to supply those muscles. The C is the clavicular, that’s projecting medially. It actually ascends. It’s not shown in this picture as ascending but, that’s going to go up and get subclavius and the sternoclavicular joint. And then, we have this one projecting out towards deltoideus muscle and that is our deltoid branch. So, APCD. I want you to remember that.

Lateral Thoracic Artery

All right, so that was our T, the HTL. Now, we’re going to the L. The next one in the sequence will be our lateral thoracic artery. Let’s fade the others. This guy right here, that’s our lateral thoracic artery. That’s going to project down and it’s going to go towards serratus anterior. That’s one of the lateral thoracic muscles, right? So, the lateral thoracic artery is going to go towards serratus anterior.

That’s our HoTeL. We’re done wit HoTeL. Now, we need to go to the SPA.

Subscapular Artery

For the SPA, the first is the S which is our, here it says suprascapula. I want you to remember it as subscapular artery. So this part right here is our subscapular artery and that is going to branch, we’re going to get two branches from that, we’re going to get our thoracodorsal artery. That’s going to project down and get latissimus dorsi and then, we’re going to have this one that wraps around the lateral border of the scapula. If I turn this around, you can see how it wraps around. That is our circumflex scapular artery. Anytime you hear “circumflex,” you know it’s wrapping around something. You will see two more circumflex arteries as we continue on.

Posterior and Anterior Circumflex Humeral Arteries

So, we have our hotel, we have our S. Now, we need our P and our A. That’s our posterior circumflex humeral artery and our anterior circumflex humeral artery. What you’re going to see once again, “circumflex,” so, it’s wrapping around something. In this case, it’s wrapping around the neck of the humerus and they are actually going to connect. So, actually, they are going to anastomose. That word “anastomose,” let me write that out here, that means that the arteries are actually going to meet up and they do meet up here, the posterior and the anterior humeral circumflex as they are wrapping around the neck of the humerus.

So, those are our six arteries, six main branches with their branches.

So, in review let’s go from the H to the A. So, for HoTeL, the H stands for highest or superior thoracic artery. Then, the T stands for thoracoacromial artery with the A-P-C-D branches — A is for acromial, P is for pectoral, c is for clavicular and D is for deltiod. Then, we have our L which is our lateral thoracic artery. Then, we have our S which is our subscapular which then, branches into our suprascapular and thoracodorsal. We have the P which is the posterior humeral circumflex and the A which is the anterior humeral circumflex.

That’s pretty much it for this video, the branches of the axillary artery, if you enjoyed this video, Like, Share, Subscribe and if you want more videos like this and other resources to help make Biology fun, you know what to do. Come back to the website at

This is Leslie Samuel. That’s it for this video and I’ll see you in the next one.

About The Author

Leslie Samuel

Leslie Samuel is the creator of Interactive Biology. His mission is to use this site to Make Biology fun for people all over the world.

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