Coracoid process

Coracoid process
Bone: coracoid process
Gray205 left scapula lateral view.png
Left scapula. Lateral view. (Coracoid process labeled at upper left.)
The left shoulder and acromioclavicular joints, and the proper ligaments of the scapula. (Coracoid process visible at center.) Anterior view.
Latin processus coracoideus
Gray's subject #50 207

The coracoid process (from greek κόραξ, crow) is a small hook-like structure on the lateral edge of the superior anterior portion of the scapula. Pointing laterally forward, it, together with the acromion, serves to stabilize the shoulder joint. It is palpable in the deltopectoral groove between the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles.

"Coracoid" in itself means "like a raven's beak", with reference to its shape. (Greek "Korax" = Raven)


Human anatomy


It is the site of attachment for several structures:


The coracoid process is a thick curved process attached by a broad base to the upper part of the neck of the scapula; it runs at first upward and medialward; then, becoming smaller, it changes its direction, and projects forward and lateralward.

The ascending portion, flattened from before backward, presents in front a smooth concave surface, across which the Subscapularis passes.

The horizontal portion is flattened from above downward; its upper surface is convex and irregular, and gives attachment to the Pectoralis minor; its under surface is smooth; its medial and lateral borders are rough; the former gives attachment to the Pectoralis minor and the latter to the coracoacromial ligament; the apex is embraced by the conjoined tendon of origin of the Coracobrachialis and short head of the Biceps brachii and gives attachment to the coracoclavicular fascia.

On the medial part of the root of the coracoid process is a rough impression for the attachment of the conoid ligament; and running from it obliquely forward and lateralward, on to the upper surface of the horizontal portion, is an elevated ridge for the attachment of the trapezoid ligament.


Clinical relevance

The coracoid process is palpable just below the lateral end of the clavicle (collar bone). It is otherwise known as the "Surgeon's Lighthouse" because it serves as a landmark to avoid neurovascular damage.[2] Major neurovascular structures enter the upper limb medial to the coracoid process so surgical approaches to the shoulder region always takes place lateral to the coracoid process.

Evolutionary variation

In monotremes, the coracoid is a separate bone. Reptiles, birds, and frogs (but not salamanders) also possess a bone by this name, but is not homologous with the coracoid process of mammals.[3]

Analyses of the size and shape of the coracoid process in Australopithecus africanus (STS 7) have shown that in this species it displayed a prominent dorsolateral tubercle placed more laterally than in modern humans. This reflect, according to one interpretation, a scapula positioned high on a funnel-shaped thorax and a clavicle positioned obliquely as in extant great apes. [4]

Additional images

Capsule of shoulder-joint (distended). Anterior aspect.  
Glenoid fossa of right side.  
Deep muscles of the chest and front of the arm, with the boundaries of the axilla.  
Human arm bones diagram  


  1. ^ Gray's Anatomy (1918), see infobox.
  2. ^ Gallino, Mario; Santamaria, Eliana; Tiziana, Doro (1998). "Anthropometry of the scapula: Clinical and surgical considerations". Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 7 (3): 284–291. doi:10.1016/S1058-2746(98)90057-X. ""...defined by Matsen et al. as 'the lighthouse of the shoulder.'" 
    • Matsen, Frederick A; Lippitt, Steven B; Sidles, John A; Douglas T, Harryman (1984). Practical Evaluation and Management of the Shoulder. ISBN 978-0721648194. 
  3. ^ Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 186–187. ISBN 0-03-910284-X. 
  4. ^ Larson, Susan G. (2009). "Evolution of the Hominin Shoulder: Early Homo". In Grine, Frederick E.; Fleagle, John G.; Leakey, Richard E.. The First Humans - Origin and Early Evolution of the Genus Homo. Springer. pp. 65–6. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9980-9. ISBN 978-1-4020-9979-3. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • coracoid process — n a process of the scapula in most mammals representing the remnant of the coracoid bone of lower vertebrates that has become fused with the scapula and in humans is situated on its superior border and serves for the attachment of various muscles …   Medical dictionary

  • coracoid process — noun : the rudimentary coracoid bone of most mammals ankylosed with and forming a process of the scapula and in man extending upward and inward from the scapula and then curving forward and finally outward …   Useful english dictionary

  • coracoid process — a beaklike process that curves upwards and forwards from the top of the scapula, over the shoulder joint …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • coracoid process — noun Part of the scapula that projects towards the sternum in mammals …   Wiktionary

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  • Coracoid — A coracoid is a paired bone which is part of the shoulder assembly in all vertebrates except therian mammals (therians = marsupials and placentals). In therian mammals (including humans), a coracoid process is present as part of the scapula, but… …   Wikipedia

  • coracoid — Shaped like a crow s beak; denoting a process of the scapula. [G. korakodes, like a crow s beak, fr. korax, raven, + eidos, appearance] * * * cor·a·coid kȯr ə .kȯid, kär adj of, relating to, or being a process of the scapula in most mammals or… …   Medical dictionary

  • coracoid — 1. noun a) Part of the scapula that projects towards the sternum in mammals; the coracoid process b) A small bone linking the scapula and sternum in birds, reptiles and some other vertebrates 2. adjective …   Wiktionary

  • Process (anatomy) — In anatomy, a process (Latin: processus ) is a projection or outgrowth of tissue from a larger body.ExamplesExamples of processes include: *the mastoid process *the xyphoid process *the acromion process *the spinous process extends from rearward… …   Wikipedia

  • coracoid — [ kɒrəkɔɪd] (also coracoid process) noun Anatomy a short projection from the shoulder blade in mammals, to which part of the biceps is attached. Origin C18: from mod. L. coracoides, from Gk korakoeidēs raven like , from korax raven (because of… …   English new terms dictionary

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