Purpose: Vascularity of the subacromial bursa and rotator cuff tendons is key factors in the pathogenesis of subacromial bursitis and impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinitis, and rotator cuff tears. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe blood supply to the cranial and caudal parts of the subacromial bursa and the vascularity of the rotator cuff tendons on the bursal side. Methods: Fourteen fresh cadaveric shoulders from six females and eight males with a mean age of 71.7 (±10.8) years were studied. Before dissection, an arterial injection of 10% aqueous dispersion of latex was administered. Post-injection, the shoulders were fixed in an alcohol–formalin–glycerol solution. Results: The cranial and caudal bursa of all specimens was mainly supplied by the thoracoacromial, suprascapular, and anterior and posterior circumflex humeral arteries. The cranial part of the bursa was supplied anteriorly by the thoracoacromial artery, and posteriorly and medially by the posterior circumflex humeral artery as far as the medial third. The caudal part received arterial blood anteriorly from the anterior circumflex humeral artery, and posteriorly and medially by the posterior circumflex humeral artery as far as the medial third of the caudal bursa. In addition, the suprascapular artery branched at the upper surface of the coracohumeral ligament, and the subcoracoid artery branched at the under surface of the same ligament. Conclusion: The subacromial bursa appears well vascularized. The results of the present investigation showed that blood supply to the subacromial bursa at the caudal part and rotator cuff tendons on the bursal side was linked to the same arteries. The subcoracoid artery supplied interval rotator structures close to the caudal bursa. It is the wish of the authors that this meticulous anatomical work will help surgeons in their day-to-day clinical work, e.g. to minimize the risk of complications such as perioperative bleeding.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)