Transversus thoracis muscle

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Transversus thoracis muscle
Transversus thoracis.png
Posterior surface of sternum and costal cartilages, showing Transversus thoracis.
Latin musculus transversus thoracis
Gray's subject #117 403
Origin costal cartilages of last 3-4 ribs, body of sternum, xiphoid process
Insertion    ribs/costal cartilages 2-6
Artery: intercostal arteries/veins
Nerve: intercostal nerves
Action: depresses ribs

The tranversus thoracis lies internal to the thoracic cage, anteriorly. It is a thin plane of muscular and tendinous fibers, situated upon the inner surface of the front wall of the chest. It is in the same layer as the subcostal muscles.

It arises on either side from the lower third of the posterior surface of the body of the sternum, from the posterior surface of the xiphoid process, and from the sternal ends of the costal cartilages of the lower three or four true ribs.

Its fibers diverge upward and lateralward, to be inserted by slips into the lower borders and inner surfaces of the costal cartilages of the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs.

The lowest fibers of this muscle are horizontal in their direction, and are continuous with those of the Transversus abdominis; the intermediate fibers are oblique, while the highest are almost vertical.

This muscle varies in its attachments, not only in different subjects, but on opposite sides of the same subject.

Nerve supply

It is supplied by ventral rami of intercostal nerves.


It is almost completely without function, but it separates the thoracic cage from the parietal pleura.

Contraction of this muscle aids in exertional expiration by decreasing the transverse diameter of the thoracic cage.

Additional images

External links

de:Musculus transversus thoracis