The suprascapular nerve can be compressed by the inferior transverse scapular ligament (ITSL), also known as the spinoglenoid ligament, and this entrapment results in dysfunction of the external rotation of the upper arm owing to isolated weakness of the infraspinatus muscle. The morphology of the ITSL has not been adequately characterized. The aim of this study was to clarify the morphological characteristics of the ITSL. In total, 110 shoulders from 72 cadavers were dissected in this study. The ITSL was present in 73 (66.4%) of the 110 specimens, and comprised membrane in 40 (36.4%), ligament in 25 (22.7%), and both membrane and ligament in eight (7.3%). This structure could be classified into three types on the basis of its shape: band-like (33.6%, type I), triangular (15.5%, type II), or irregular (17.3%, type III). In the spinoglenoid notch, the suprascapular nerve was always close to the lateral margin of the scapular spine. The length of the ligament between its origin and insertion sites ranged from 8.7 to 23.4 mm at its superior margin and from 8.9 to 17.5 mm at its inferior margin. The ligament width and thickness at its midportion ranged from 1.6 to 10.0 mm and from 0.1 to 1.2 mm, respectively. The results of this study improve understanding of the ITSL and will be helpful for successful diagnoses and treatments for selective suprascapular nerve entrapment.
- inferior transverse scapular ligament
- spinoglenoid ligament
- suprascapular nerve