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The course of the suprascapular nerve and its distance from fixed scapular landmarks were measured in 90 cadaveric shoulders. In an additional 15 cadavers, three pins were passed at various angles in a general anteriorposterior direction through the middle of the glenoid neck just inferior and lateral to the base of the coracoid process. The distance between the exit site on the posterior glenoid neck and the suprascapular nerve at the base of the scapular spine was recorded for each pin. Inferiorly directed pins were the furthest from the suprascapular nerve and averaged 16 mm. On the basis of these data, a relative safe zone is described in the posterior glenoid neck. Knowledge of the anatomic course of the suprascapular nerve may aid the physician in the diagnosis and treatment of suprascapular neuropathies. Appreciation of the safe zone may help the shoulder surgeon avoid iatrogenic injury to the suprascapular nerve during arthroscopic Bankart procedures and other open surgical procedures requiring dissection of the posterior glenoid neck.
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© 1990 Arthroscopy Association of North America. Published by Elsevier Inc.