Superior thoracic aperture

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The superior thoracic aperture, also known as the thoracic inlet or outlet, connects the root of the neck with the thorax

Gross anatomy

The superior thoracic aperture is kidney-shaped and lies in an oblique transverse plane, tilted anteroinferiorly to posterosuperiorly. 

  • posteriorly: T1 vertebral body and costovertebral joints
  • laterally: first ribs and their costal cartilages
  • anteriorly: superior border of the manubrium

The list of structures that pass through the superior thoracic outlet is long. Included below are the major structures: 

Related pathology

Anatomy: Thoracic
Share article

Article information

rID: 27618
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Thoracic inlet
  • Thoracic outlet

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.