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intercostal neurovascular bundle (vein, artery, nerve)
Back
Forward
The intercostal veins, arteries, and nerves can be found at the inferior border of the ribs (the veins lying within the costal groove). In this image the nerve and vessels are veiwed from the inner surface of the removed chest plate. The innermost intercostal muscle has been removed to reveal the nerve and vessels running between it and the internal intercostal muscle.

When performing a thoracentesis the needle used to withdraw excess pleural fluid is inserted superior to the border of the rib to spare injury to the intercostal vessels (which can potentially cause bleeding).

The arrangement of the structures from superior to inferior is intercostal vein, intercostal artery, and intercostal nerve.

[Note: video clips available for these structures]
Videos (will open in new window)

intercostal_v
intercostal_a
intercostal_n