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Flashcards in Axilla Deck (41):
1

What is the axilla?

The name given to an area that lies underneath the glenohumeral joint, at the junction of the upper limb and thorax

2

What is the function of the axilla?

It’s a passageway by which structures such as vessels and nerves can enter and leave the upper limb

3

What is the overall 3D shape of the axilla?

Looks slightly like a pyramid

4

What do the borders of the axilla consist of?

Four sides, and a base with an opening at the apex

5

What are the walls of the axilla?

Apex
Lateral wall
Medial wall
Anterior wall 
Posterior wall

6

What is the apex of the axilla also known as?

The axillary inlet

7

What forms the apex of the axilla?

The lateral border of the first rib, superior border of the scapula, and the posterior border of the clavicle

8

What forms the lateral wall of the axilla?

The intertubecular groove of the humerus

9

What forms the medial wall of the axilla?

The serratus anterior and thoracic wall (ribs and intercostal muscles)

10

What forms the anterior wall of the axilla?

Pectoralis major and underlying pectoralis minor and subclavius muscles

11

What forms the posterior wall of the axilla?

Subscapularis, teres major, latissimus dorsi

12

How does the size and shape of the axilla vary?

With arm abuductio

13

When does the size of the axilla decrease most markedly?

When the arm is fully abducted

14

What is true of the axilla when the arm is fully abducted?

The contents of the axilla are at most risk of injury

15

How many routes are there by which structures leave the axilla?

Three

16

What is the main route of exit from the axilla?

Immediately inferiorly and laterally, into the upper limb

17

What are the other routes of exit from the axilla?

Via the quadrangular space
Via the clavipectoral triangle

18

What is the quadrangular space?

A gap in the posterior wall of the axilla

19

What does the quadrangular space allow?

Access to the posterior arm and shoulder

20

What structures pass through the quadrangular space?

Axillary nerve 
Posterior circumflex humeral artery

21

What is the clavipectoral triangle?

An opening in the anterior wall of the axilla

22

What is the clavipectoral triangle bound by?

The pectoralis major, deltoid and clavicle

23

What travels through the clavipectoral triangle?

The cephalic vein enters the axilla 
The medial and lateral pectoral nerves leave the axilla

24

What are the clinically important contents of the axilla region?

Axillary artery  Axillary vein 
Brachial plexus
Biceps brachii and coracobrachialis tendons
Axillary lymph nodes

25

What is the axillary artery?

The main artery supplying the upper limb

26

What is the axillary artery commonly referred to having?

Three parts, one medial to the pectoralis minor, one posterior to the pectoralis minor, and one lateral to the pectoralis minor

27

What parts of the axillary artery travel in the axilla?

The medial and posterior parts

28

What is the axillary vein?

The main vein draining the upper limb

29

What are the axillary veins largest tributaries?

The cephalic and basilic veins

30

What is the brachial plexus?

A collection of spinal nerves that form peripheral nerves of the upper limb

31

What happens to the biceps brachii and coracobrachialis tendons when they move through the axilla?

They attach to the coracoid process of the scapula

32

What do the axillary lymph nodes do?

Filter lymph that has drained from the upper limb and pectoral region

33

What does axillary lymph node enlargement mean in women?

It is a non-specific indicator of breast cancer

34

What is the apex of the axilla?

An opening between the clavicle, first rib and the scapula

35

What can happen in the apex of the axilla?

The vessels and nerves may become compressed between the bones, called thoracic outlet syndrome

36

What are the common causes of TOS?

Trauma, e.g. fractured clavicle 
Repetitive movements

37

How does TOS often present?

Pain in the affected limb, tingling, muscle weakness and discolouration

38

What does where the pain in TOS is felt depend on?

What nerves are affected

39

Why can lymph nodes be biopsied if breast cancer is suspected?

Approx. 75% of lymph from the breast drains into the axilla lymph nodes

40

What may happen if breast cancer is confirmed?

The axillary nodes may need to be removed to prevent the cancer spreading, a procedure called axillary clearance

41

What may happen during axillary clearance?

The long thoracic nerve may become damaged, resulting in winged scapula