Dissectional Orientation: Morphological Variations of Teres Minor Muscle and its Nerve Supply

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Chutikan Kaensa; Sirinush Sricharoenvej; Passara Lanlua & Sani Baimai


The teres minor is one of the rotator cuff muscles that comprise the superior margin of the quadrangular space. Quadrangular space syndrome (QSS) refers to the entrapment or compression of the axillary nerve and the posterior humeral circumflex artery in the quadrangular space, often caused by injuries, dislocation of the shoulder joint, etc. Patients who fail the primary conservative treatments and have persistent symptoms and no pain relief for at least six months would be considered for surgical interventions for QSS. This cadaveric study of 17 cadavers (males: 9 and females: 8) was conducted in the Gross Anatomy Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University. The cadavers were preserved in a 10 % formaldehyde solution and obtained ethical approval by the ethical commission of the Siriraj Institutional Review Board. The morphology of the teres minor muscle-tendon junction, the bifurcation type of the axillary nerve, and the length and number of the terminal branches of the nerve to the teres minor were documented. Specimens with quadrangular space contents and surrounding muscles that had been destroyed were excluded from the study. The results showed that 47.06 % of the specimens had type A bifurcation, 47.06 % had type B bifurcation, and the remaining 5.88 % had type C bifurcation. It was observed that 58.82 % had nonclassic muscle-tendon morphology, while 41.18 % were classic. The average length of the terminal branches of the nerve to the teres minor in males was 1.13 cm, with the majority having two branches. For females, many showed one terminal branch with an average length of 0.97 cm. Understanding the differences in anatomical variations can allow for a personalized treatment plan prior to quadrangular space syndrome surgical procedures and improve the recovery of postsurgical interventions for patients.

KEY WORDS: Quadrilateral space syndrome; Quadrangular Space; Axillary Nerve; Teres Minor; Cadavers.

How to cite this article

KAENSA, C.; SRICHAROENVEJ, S.; LANLUA, P. & BAIMAI, S. Dissectional orientation: morphological variations of teres minor muscle and its nerve supply. Int. J. Morphol., 41(5):1445-1451, 2023.