Rhomboid Minor Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Spinous processes of C7-T1 and the nuchal ligament
Insertion Medial border of the scapula
Action Retraction of the scapula
Rotation of the scapula to depress the glenoid cavity
Elevation of the scapula
Nerve Dorsal scapular nerve (C4–5)
Artery Dorsal scapular artery

Location & Overview

The rhomboid minor muscle is one of the two rhomboid muscles. It is a cylindrical shaped muscle, small and relatively thin comparative to its rhomboid major counterpart. It connects the scapula to the vertebrae of the spinal column. Its location is superior to the rhomboid major and inferior to the levator scapulae muscles. It is also deep to the trapezius muscle. In some individuals, the minor and major are fused together into a single muscle. [1] [2].

rhomboid minor muscle

Pictured here we can see the rhomboid minor muscle.

rhomboid major and minor together

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

Origin & Insertion

The rhomboid minor muscle originates at the spinous processes of C7 and T1. It also originates from the nuchal ligament. The nuchal ligament begins at the external occipital protuberance on the skull and median nuchal line. It then extends to the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra, which is where it meets with the rhomboid minor muscle. The insertion of the rhomboid minor is on the medial border of the scapula, just superior to the rhomboid major insertion [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

rhomboid muscle origin

Pictured here we can see the rhomboid minor muscle and nuchal ligament. The rhomboid muscle originates at C7 and T1 vertebra and the nuchal ligament (origin highlighted in red).

homboid minor muscle insertion

Pictured here we can see the rhomboid minor muscle insertion at the superior medial border of the scapula (highlighted in blue). The insertion is superior to the insertion of the rhomboid major.

Actions

The rhomboid major and minor both work together to press the scapula against the thoracic wall and rotate the scapula to depress the glenoid cavity. The minor also works together with the major to retract the scapula and can also assists in scapula elevation [8] [9] [10] [11].

Innervation

The rhomboid minor muscle is innervated by the dorsal scapular nerve (C4–5) [12].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied to the rhomboid minor via the dorsal scapular artery but sometimes it can also reveice a supply of blood via a deep branch of the transverse cervical artery [13] [14].

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Rhomboid Minor Flashcards

References

References
1, 3, 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, 7, 10 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.
4, 8 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, 9 Paine R, Voight ML. The role of the scapula. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;8(5):617-29. PMID: 24175141; PMCID: PMC3811730.
11, 14 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.