Rhomboid Major Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Spinous process of T2 to T5 vertebrae
Insertion Medial border of the scapula
Actions Retraction of the scapula
Rotation of the scapula to depress the glenoid cavity
Elevation of the scapula
Nerve Dorsal scapular nerve (C5)
Artery Dorsal scapular artery

Location & Overview

The rhomboid major is a muscle of the upper back which connects the vertebrae of the spine with the scapula. It is a part of the two muscles known as the rhomboids (consisting of the rhomboid major and minor). The rhomboids are important for providing stability of both the shoulder girdle and scapula. The rhomboid major is located inferiorly to the rhomboid minor muscle. The rhomboid major assists in holding the scapula to the rib cage. Some examples of other muscles which assist in this task are the pectoralis minor and serratus anterior [1] [2].

rhomboid major muscle

Pictured here we can see the rhomboid major muscle.

the rhomboid major and minor together

Pictured here we can see both the rhomboid major and minor together.

Origin & Insertion

The rhomboid major originates at the spinous processes of T2 to T5 of the vertebrae. It then inserts at the medial border of the scapula [3] [4] [5] [6].

origin of the rhomboid major muscle highlighted in red

Pictured here we can see the origin of the rhomboid major muscle. Spinous process of T2 to T5 vertebrae highlighted in red.

insertion of the rhomboid major muscle highlighted in blue

Here we can see the insertion of the rhomboid major muscle highlighted in blue. It inserts on the medial border of the scapula.

Actions

The rhomboid major can retract the scapula which pulls it towards the vertebra. The rhomboid minor also assists with this. The rhomboid major also rotates the scapula inferiorly in order to depress the glenoid cavity. It also assists with scapular elevation [7] [8] [9] [10].

Innervation

The rhomboid major muscle is innervated by the dorsal scapular nerve (C5) [11].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied from the dorsal scapular artery and in some individuals, via a deep branch of the transverse cervical artery[12] [13].

Want some flashcards to help you remember this information? Then click the link below:
Rhomboid major flashcards

References

References
1, 3, 11, 12 Farrell C, Kiel J. Anatomy, Back, Rhomboid Muscles. [Updated 2021 Jul 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534856/
2, 9 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.
4, 7 Martin RM, Fish DE. Scapular winging: anatomical review, diagnosis, and treatments. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Mar;1(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s12178-007-9000-5. PMID: 19468892; PMCID: PMC2684151.
5 Beger O, Dinç U, Beger B, Uzmansel D, Kurtoğlu Z. Morphometric properties of the levator scapulae, rhomboid major, and rhomboid minor in human fetuses. Surg Radiol Anat. 2018 Apr;40(4):449-455. doi: 10.1007/s00276-018-2002-8. Epub 2018 Mar 15. PMID: 29541801.
6, 8 Paine R, Voight ML. The role of the scapula. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;8(5):617-29. PMID: 24175141; PMCID: PMC3811730.
10 Mitchell B, Imonugo O, Tripp JE. Anatomy, Back, Extrinsic Muscles. [Updated 2021 Aug 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537216/
13 Ikka L, Mihalea C, Achour NB, Khalek HA, Vacher C. The origin of the dorsal scapular artery: anatomic variations and surgical applications. Surg Radiol Anat. 2016 Nov;38(9):1021-1027. doi: 10.1007/s00276-016-1656-3. Epub 2016 Feb 26. PMID: 26920558.