Table of Contents
Anatomy Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 674179, 4 pages
Research Article

Anatomical Considerations of the Suprascapular Nerve in Rotator Cuff Repairs

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
3Southern California Orthopaedic Institute, Pomona, CA, USA

Received 27 August 2013; Accepted 1 February 2014; Published 3 March 2014

Academic Editor: Ayhan Comert

Copyright © 2014 James A. Tom et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. When using the double interval slide technique for arthroscopic repair of chronic large or massive rotator cuff tears, the posterior interval release is directed toward the scapular spine until the fat pad that protects the suprascapular nerve is reached. Injury to the suprascapular nerve can occur due to the nerve’s proximity to the operative field. This study aimed to identify safe margins for avoiding injury to the suprascapular nerve. Materials and Methods. For 20 shoulders in ten cadavers, the distance was measured from the suprascapular notch to the glenoid rim, the articular margin of the rotator cuff footprint, and the lateral border of the acromion. Results. From the suprascapular notch, the suprascapular nerve coursed an average of 3.42 cm to the glenoid rim, 5.34 cm to the articular margin of the rotator cuff footprint, and 6.09 cm to the lateral border of the acromion. Conclusions. The results of this study define a safe zone, using anatomic landmarks, to help surgeons avoid iatrogenic injury to the suprascapular nerve when employing the double interval slide technique in arthroscopic repair of the rotator cuff.