Variations in the formation of supraclavicular brachial plexus among Kenyans

Author Information

B.O. Olabu, BSc (Anat), J.A. Ogeng’o, BSc (Anat), MBChB, PhD, K.O. Awori, MBChB, MMed (Surg),
Dip. (SICOT), FCS (Orth), ECSA and H. Saidi, BSc (Anat), MBChB, MMed (Surg), FCS (ECSA)

Corresponding author:

B.O. Olabu, Department of Human Anatomy, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya,


OBJECTIVE: To describe the pattern and prevalence of variations that occur in the supraclavicular part of the brachial plexus in a Kenyan population.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ninety-four brachial plexuses from forty-seven formalin fixed cadavers were displayed by gross dissection.

RESULTS: The presence of at least one variation from the classical anatomy was observed in 73 (77.7%) of the 94 plexuses. The roots and trunks were involved in 32 (34%) of the plexuses . Pre- and post-fixed roots were present in 23 (24.7%) and 3 (3.2%), respectively. The presence of four trunks, and trunks passing between the scalene medius and posterior were also noted. The long thoracic nerve was variant in 51 (54.3%) of the plexuses. Unusual relations of the phrenic nerve to scalene muscles and the subclavian vein were encountered.

CONCLUSION: The presence of four trunks and an accessory phrenic nerve passing through the subclavian vein are probably described and reported for the first time.  However, most of the variations of the BP among Kenyans are similar to those reported in the other populations.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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ISSN (print): 1999-9674; ISSN (online): 2523-0816

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