Posterior triangle of the neck

The posterior triangle of the neck forms the posterior compartment of the neck and is separated from the anterior triangle by the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The triangles of the neck are surgically focused, first described from early dissection-based anatomical studies which predated cross-sectional anatomical description based on imaging (see deep spaces of the neck).


The inferior belly of the omohyoid that crosses the triangle divides it into an inferior supraclavicular and superior occipital triangles


The posterior triangle contains level 5 lymph node chains. These include spinal accessory and transverse cervical nodes. Depending on the location of the nodes above or below the accessory nerve, they are sub grouped as level 5a (above) or level 5b (below). 

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 54113
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: surgical triangles of the neck (Gray's illustration)
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