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Arthrosc Tech. 2012 Sep 28;1(2):e187-92. doi: 10.1016/j.eats.2012.07.004. Print 2012 Dec.

Arthroscopic suprascapular nerve decompression: transarticular and subacromial approach.

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  • 1Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Rush Medical College of Rush University, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


Entrapment of the suprascapular nerve (SSN) is an increasingly recognized entity that can occur due to traction or compression-related etiology. Traction injuries of the SSN are unlikely to respond to surgical management and frequently improve with rest and avoidance of overhead activity. Compression injuries, on the other hand, frequently require surgical decompression for pain relief. SSN entrapment caused by compression at the suprascapular notch by the transverse scapular ligament gives rise to pain and atrophy of both the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles. However, compression at the spinoglenoid notch is more insidious because pain fibers may not be involved, causing isolated external rotation weakness. We present our preferred surgical technique for safe decompression of the SSN at the suprascapular and spinoglenoid notch using a subacromial and intra-articular approach, respectively. The key to ensuring efficient and uncomplicated decompression of the SSN relies on an intimate knowledge of the neurovascular anatomy and related landmarks.

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