Musculocutaneous nerve

A.Prof Frank Gaillard and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The musculocutaneous nerve is one of five major branches of the brachial plexus and supplies motor innervation to the arm and sensory innervation to the forearm.

Gross anatomy

Origin

The musculocutaneous nerve is one of two terminal branches of the lateral cord of the brachial plexus (along with the lateral root of the median nerve). It receives fibres from the C5-7 nerve roots.

Course

In the axilla, the musculocutaneous nerve courses laterally away from the axillary artery, pierces (and supplies) the coracobrachialis muscle and descends towards the elbow between biceps brachii and brachialis muscles

In the cubital fossa, it courses lateral to the biceps tendon as the lateral cutaneous nerve of the forearm, which is simply the sensory continuation of the musculocutaneous nerve after it has distributed all its motor fibres in the anterior compartment of the arm. 

Branches and supply
  • muscular branches: anterior compartment of the arm (coracobrachialis, biceps brachii and brachialis muscles)
  • articular branches: shoulder and elbow joints
  • lateral cutaneous: lateral aspect of the forearm
Upper limb anatomy
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Article information

rID: 24693
Section: Anatomy
Tags: refs, cases, nerve
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: musculocutaneous nerve
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    Figure 2: labelled brachial plexus
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