A Morphological Study of the Suprascapular Notch in a Sample of Scapulae at the University of Kwazulu Natal

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Manikum, C.; Rennie, C.; Naidu, E. C. S. & Azu, O. O.


The suprascapular notch (SSN) is important, as it is a risk factor in the development of suprascapular nerve entrapment syndrome. The purpose of this study is to describe the morphology of the SSN of a sample of normal scapulae in the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, University of KwaZulu Natal. Sixty scapulae were used consisting of 37 males and 23 females (mean age 51 years). The superior transverse diameter and maximal depth of the notches were measured. Comparisons were made of the notch in relation to the maximal width and length of the scapulae, laterality and sex. The Rengachary classification method was adopted to describe the shape of the SSN. Analysis of morphological variations showed Type II- wide blunted V-shaped notch to be predominant (65%). Three scapulae had absent notches (Type I). The average notch depth and transverse diameter were 6.51±2.69 mm and 13.18±5.52 mm respectively. The right SSN were significantly deeper than the left (7.54±2.51 mm) (p<0.02). The male scapulae were distinctively larger, with females having a much shallower and wider notch. Understanding the morphological variation of the SSN is important when various radiological imaging techniques are utilized such as during arthroscopic shoulder operations and anaesthesia for landmarking of the suprascapular nerve.

KEY WORDS: Suprascapular notch; Morphology; Clinical anatomy; Nerve entrapment.

How to cite this article

MANIKUM, C.; RENNIE, C.; NAIDU, E. C. S. & AZU, O. O. A morphological study of the suprascapular notch in a sample of scapulae at the University of KwaZulu Natal. Int. J. Morphol., 33(4):1365-1370, 2015.