Anatomy and histological characteristics of the spinoglenoid ligament

Craig A. Cummins*, Kyle Anderson, Mark Bowen, Gordon Nuber, Sanford I. Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The spinoglenoid (inferior transverse scapular) ligament, when present, is located at the spinoglenoid notch. The ligament originates on the spine of the scapula and inserts on the superior margin of the glenoid neck. Because of discrepancies in the literature, we sought to determine its prevalence and to define its histological characteristics. We dissected 112 shoulders of seventy-six cadavera and classified the ligament as absent or an insubstantial structure, a thin fibrous band (type I), or a distinct ligament (type H). We found no distinct ligamentous structure in twenty-two shoulders (20 percent), a type-I ligament in sixty-eight shoulders (61 percent), and a type-II ligament in twenty-two shoulders (20 percent). Overall, ninety (80 percent) of the shoulders had a fibrous band of tissue that, together with the spine of the scapula, formed a narrow fibro-osseous tunnel through which the suprascapular nerve traveled. The bone-spinoglenoid ligament-bone complexes from three specimens were analyzed histologically. There were two type-I ligaments and one type-II ligament; all three ligaments were composed of collagen fibers. One type-I ligament and the type-II ligament demonstrated Sharpey fibers at their origin on the spine of the scapula. The other type-I ligament attached to the spine of the scapula through the periosteum. All three ligaments inserted into the periosteum of the glenoid neck. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The spinoglenoid ligament may be clinically relevant in two respects. First, the ligament may limit mobilization and advancement of the infraspinatus tendon during repair of a massive tear of the rotator cuff, placing the distal part of the suprascapular nerve at risk. Second, the spinoglenoid ligament represents a potential site for nerve entrapment, particularly with the added stress of traction that can occur with overhead athletic activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1622-1625
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Anatomy and histological characteristics of the spinoglenoid ligament'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this