Development of the CSRA

Authors: Beals TC, Harryman DT 2nd, Lazarus MD

References: Arthroscopy. 1998 Jul-Aug;14(5):465-70.

The anatomic boundaries the subacromial bursa may serve as a useful guide for surgical orientation and safety. The goals of this study were to measure the minimum distance between the subdeltoid reflection of the subacromial bursa and the circumflex branch of the axillary nerve and to identify relationships between the margins of the subacromial bursa and the acromion, rotator cuff, and acromioclavicular joint. Seventeen fresh-frozen cadavers (mean age, 69 years), were included. Eleven cadavera were dissected only after the subacromial bursa was injected with a latex solution to define the peripheral boundaries of the bursa. The bursal margins were always 2 cm or more from the anterolateral corner of the bursal acromial surface and the bursa lined the anterior half of the anteroposterior distance of the acromion. The mean distances from all points of the acromion to the axillary nerve averaged approximately 5 cm. The mean minimum distance from the subdeltoid bursal reflection to the axillary nerve was 0.8 +/- 0.5 cm with a range of 0.0 to 1.4 cm. In the unelevated extremity, the inferior bursal reflection was always cephalad to the axillary nerve even when the two structures were apposed. Surgeons should exercise caution when approaching the inferior boundary of the subdeltoid bursal reflection because of the proximity to the axillary nerve. We recommend coupling previously reported "safe deltoid-split" distances to this useful anatomic landmark to prevent nerve injury. Furthermore, the central location of the anterolateral corner of the acromion within the bursal space can be applied to needle placement for injection, arthroscopic diagnosis or treatment and mini-open rotator cuff repairs.


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