Suprascapular neuropathy

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The right brachial plexus with its short branches, viewed from anterior view. (Suprascapular labeled at upper left.)
Suprascapular and axillary nerves of right side, seen from posterior view.
  • Suprascapular nerve (C5, 6) branches from the superior trunk and innervates the supraspinatus and infraspinatus nerves
  • Compression of the nerve in the suprascapular notch (proximal, supraspinatus and infraspinatus affected) or at spinoglenoid ligament (distal, only infraspinatus affected)[1][2]
  • Most often seen in athletes due to repetitive overhead arm movements


Clinical Features

Nerve roots that supply sensation to the upper extremities.
  • Shoulder pain
  • Weakness of shoulder abduction, flexion, and internal rotation
  • May see atrophy of supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles

Differential Diagnosis

Upper extremity peripheral nerve syndromes

Median Nerve Syndromes

Ulnar Nerve Syndromes

Radial Nerve Syndromes

Proximal Neuropathies



  • Plain films to evaluate for fracture, callus, or bone tumor
  • MRI and EMG outpatient


  • Nonoperative - activity modification, avoid overhead activities, physical therapy, NSAIDs, sling
  • Operative for space occupying lesions


  • Discharge with orthopedic follow up

See Also

External Links


  2. Boykin RE et al. Suprascapular Neuropathy. JBJS. 2010;92:2348-2368.