The description of accessory phrenic nerve (APN) in the standard textbooks and available literature is vague and sometimes limited to few lines. The incidence of APN varies a great deal from 17.6 % to 80.9 % in the available literature. The aim of the present study was to calculate the incidence and variation of APN in Indian population. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Forty five adult formalin-fixed cadavers (35 male, 10 female; 90 sides) used for gross anatomy dissection for undergraduates; during the 2 year period 2006-2007 were considered. Findings were recorded at different stages of the dissection. RESULTS: Out of 90 body sides studied, the APN was present in 48 sides (53.3 %). In 17 of the above sides the APN was confined to the cervical region (Cervical type) and in 31 sides the APN entered the thorax (Thoracic type), all anterior to the subclavian vein (SV). In eleven specimens the APN was found bilaterally. CONCLUSION: The incidence of APN, with its course and relation to the various structures in cervical and thoracic region will help the surgeons while performing internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafting and other radical neck surgery.
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