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An anatomic investigation of the serratus posterior superior and serratus posterior inferior muscles

Abstract

In classical anatomy textbooks the serratus posterior superior muscle was said to elevate the superior four ribs, thus increasing the AP diameter of the thorax and raising the sternum. However, electromyographic and other studies do not support its role in respiration. In order to help resolve this controversy and provide some insight into their possible functionality, the present study aimed at examining the morphology, topography and morphometry of serratus posterior superior and inferior muscles in both normal specimens and those derived from patients with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). These muscles were examined in 50 human cadavers with an age range of 58–82 years. In 18 of the cadavers their histories revealed that they were suffering from COPD. There was no significant difference between right and left sides, race, gender and age and positive COPD history in regard to dimensions and nerves supply of serratus posterior superior and inferior muscles (P > 0.05). Based upon our findings that no morphometric differences exist between the of serratus posterior superior and inferior muscles of COPD patients versus controls, we are suggesting that no respiratory function be attributed to either of the serratus posterior superior and inferior muscles.

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Correspondence to Marios Loukas.

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Loukas, M., Louis, R.G., Wartmann, C.T. et al. An anatomic investigation of the serratus posterior superior and serratus posterior inferior muscles. Surg Radiol Anat 30, 119–123 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00276-008-0305-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00276-008-0305-x

Keywords

  • Accessory respiratory muscles
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
  • Emphysema
  • Serratus posterior inferior
  • Serratus posterior superior