Endoscopically assisted decompression of the suprascapular nerve in the supraspinous fossa: A cadaveric feasibility study. Laboratory investigation

R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Robert J. Spinner, Erik H. Middlebrooks, William R. Stetler, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons, Jeffrey P. Blount, W. Jerry Oakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Object. The suprascapular nerve may become entrapped as it travels deep to the suprascapular ligament, necessitating decompression. The present study was performed to verify the feasibility of a minimally invasive, endoscopically assisted technique for decompressing the suprascapular nerve in the supraspinous fossa. Methods. The authors performed dissection and decompression of the suprascapular ligament using an endoscopically assisted technique via a 3-cm skin incision in 10 adult cadavers (20 sides). Measurements were also made of the depth from the skin to the suprascapular ligament. Results. A mean depth of 4 cm was necessary to reach the suprascapular ligament from the skin surface. With the authors' approach, no obvious injury occurred to the suprascapular or other vicinal neurovascular structures (such as the spinal accessory nerve and suprascapular vessels). Conclusions. The results of this cadaveric study demonstrate that access to the suprascapular nerve can be obtained endoscopically via a small suprascapular incision. This approach obviates a large incision, entry into the glenohumeral joint, and reduces the risk of spinal accessory nerve injury in the posterior cervical triangle, or atrophy of the trapezius or supraspinatus muscles from a standard larger dissection. To the authors' knowledge an endoscopically assisted approach to decompressing the suprascapular nerve as it courses deep to the suprascapular ligament has not been reported previously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1164-1167
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomical study
  • Brachial plexus
  • Cadaver
  • Shoulder
  • Surgery
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Endoscopically assisted decompression of the suprascapular nerve in the supraspinous fossa: A cadaveric feasibility study. Laboratory investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this