International Journal of Morphology
On-line version ISSN 0717-9502
MARDONES VALDIVIESO, Felipe and RODRIGUEZ TORRES, Alberto. Levator Scapulae Muscle: Macroscopic Characterization. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2006, vol.24, n.2, pp. 251-258. ISSN 0717-9502. doi: 10.4067/S0717-95022006000300021.
Recent surgical techniques and applications have prompted a thorough anatomical study of the levator scapulae muscle. However, there are still questions regarding its morphology which are important to consider if it is to be used as a reconstructive tool. In this study, 11 human corpses were used (8 males and 3 females), with an average age of 70 years. We dissected in a step-wise manner both sides of 9 cervical and scapular regions, and in 2 cases, only one side. Different macroscopic features were analyzed such as: configuration, location, muscle origins and insertions, direct relationships and variations. The muscle was located in the posterior and lateral cervical as well as scapular regions. It resembles a cinch, as it originates from various muscular fascicles and inserts as a common muscular mass. We observed an average of 3.95 (S.D ±0.85) fascicles per muscle, with total lengths in the range between 14.9 c.m. to 18.3 c.m. The fascicles originated from tendons from the cervical vertebrae, with an average of 3.9 (S.D ±0.78) per muscle. Distally, the muscle inserted in various points of the scapulae, as well as the fasciae of the serratus anterior muscle. Just before its insertion, we also observed the splitting of the muscle into 2 flaps. Several vascular, nervous, muscular and lymphatic elements in the cervical and scapular regions were closely related to the levator scapulae muscle. Also, anatomical variations were observed regarding the muscle´s origins, muscle fibers and insertions. The developmental events of the muscle are useful to understand some of the macroscopic observations. Although some of its morphologic features discourage its use (close relationships, variations), others (length of fascicles and location) enlight it as a good alternative in the reconstructive surgery of the head and neck
Keywords : Morphology; Levator scapulae muscle; Hypaxial.