Middle Scalene

Original Editor - Wendy Walker

Lead Editors - Wendy Walker, Kim Jackson and Evan Thomas  


Middle Scalene, AKA Scalenus Medius, is the largest and longest muscle in the Scalene group of lateral neck muscles. Often penetrated by the dorsal scapular and long thoracic nerves, it is deeply placed, lying behind Sternocleidomastoid.

Scalenus medius muscle - animation02.gif


C2 to C7
Posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of cervical vertebrae 2 to 7


1st Rib

Superior surface of the 1st rib, posterior to the subclavian groove

Nerve Supply

Cervical nerves 5 to 3 & 4

Blood Supply

Mscular branches of the ascending cervical artery


Middle scalene acts with anterior and posterior scalene muscles.

 Acting from above: elevation of 1st rib

Acting from below: cervical side flexion and rotation[1]; if bilateral action, small degree of cervical flexion


Acting from above: accessory muscle of inspiration

Acting from below: cervical side flexor and rotator


  1. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2002 Oct;32(10):488-96.Actions of the scalene muscles for rotation of the cervical spine in macaque and human. Buford JA, Yoder SM, Heiss DG, Chidley JV.