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The accessory ascending cervical artery (Murakami et al., 1996), which arises from the subclavian artery and ascends between the scalenus anterior and medius muscles, was studied in 87 Japanese adult cadavers (174 sides), with special attention being given to its origin, distribution, and relationship to other arteries at the cervical or scalenus region. In 154 sides (88.5%), the accessory ascending cervical artery was found to originate from the subclavian artery behind the scalenus anterior muscle, and to branch out to the scalenus anterior and medius muscles as well as those entering the 5th and 6th intervertebral foramens along the 6th and 7th cervical nerves. This artery arose independently in 105 sides. The accessory ascending cervical artery issued off or formed a common trunk with the transverse cervical artery and/or costocervical trunk in 49 sides. In cases lacking the accessory ascending cervical artery, it was usually compensated for by the costocervial trunk and/or transverse cervical artery (18 sides). Common trunk formation with the vertebral, internal thoracic, or suprascapular arteries was not observed. The authors suggest that the accessory ascending cervical artery, the transverse cervical artery, and the costocervical trunk should be grouped into one arterial system, a system that may be a remnant of the precostal longitudinal anastomoses of intersegmental arteries of the dorsal aorta behind the scalenus anterior muscle.
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