Background: The aim of this study was to clarify the topographical relationships between the dorsal scapular nerve (DSN) and the dorsal scapular artery (DSA) in the interscapular region to identify safe and convenient injection points related to DSN blockade.
Methods: Thirty shoulders of embalmed Korean cadavers and 50 live subjects were used for dissection and ultrasound (US) analysis.
Results: The running patterns of the DSA and DSN in the interscapular region were classified into 3 types. Type I was defined as nerves that were medial to the artery and parallel without changing location (80.0% of specimens). In type II (13.3%), the nerve and artery traversed one another only one time over their entire length. In type III (6.7%), the nerve and artery traversed one another, resembling a twist. Above the level of the scapular spine, the nerve was always medial to the artery. Below the scapular spine, the number of arteries was obviously decreased. Most of the arteries were lateral to the medial border of the scapula, except at the level of the superior angle of the scapula artery (SA). The positional tendency of the DSN toward the medial or lateral sides from the medial border of the scapula was similar. In US imaging of live subjects, the DSA was most observed at the level of the SA (94.0%).
Conclusions: Results of this study enhance the current knowledge regarding the pathway of the DSN and DSA and provide helpful information for selective diagnostic nerve blocks in the interscapular region.
Keywords: Arteries; Cadaver; Diagnosis; Dissection; Injections; Nerve Block; Scapula; Ultrasonography.
Conflict of interest statement
No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
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