Peter J. Millett, MD, MSc, Maj Travis J. Dekker, MD, MC, USAF, Zachary S. Aman, BA, Liam A. Peebles, BA, Hunter W. Storaci, BS, Jorge Chahla, MD, Ph.D., and Matthew T. Provencher, MD, MC, USNR
While several studies have qualitatively described the anatomy of the glenohumeral ligaments, there remains a lack of consensus regarding their quantitative humeral and glenoid attachment sites.
To quantitatively and qualitatively describe the anatomic humeral and glenoid attachment sites of the glenohumeral ligaments and their relationship to well-established anatomic landmarks.
Descriptive laboratory study.
A total of 10 nonpaired, fresh-frozen human cadaveric shoulders were included in this study. A 3-dimensional coordinate measuring device was used to quantify the location of pertinent bony landmarks and soft tissue attachment areas. All subcutaneous tissues and musculature were removed, with the exception of the rotator cuff (respective muscle bellies cut at their musculotendinous junctions) and the long head of the biceps tendon. The superior glenohumeral ligament (SGHL), middle glenohumeral ligament (MGHL), anteroinferior glenohumeral ligament (AIGHL), posteroinferior glenohumeral ligament (PIGHL), and coracohumeral ligament (CHL) were then transected. Coordinates of points along the perimeters of attachment sites were used to calculate areas, while coordinates of center points were used to determine distances between surgically relevant attachment sites and pertinent bony landmarks.
The mean length of the SGHL humeral attachment along the intra-articular cartilage margin was 9.5 ± 3.2 mm, spanning from 12:55 to 1:40, while the SGHL glenoid attachment to the labrum was 1.9 ± 1.2 mm medial to the most lateral extent of the labral rim, spanning from 12:30 to 12:45. The mean length of the MGHL attachment along the intra-articular cartilage margin was 16.4 ± 3.0 mm, equating to 2:10 to 3:35 on the humeral head clockface, and the glenoid attachment was confluent with the labrum, attaching 1.5 ± 1.0 mm medial to the most lateral extent of the labral rim and thus extending from 1:50 to 2:35 on the glenoid clockface. The mean length of the AIGHL attachment along the intra-articular cartilage margin was 12.0 ± 3.0 mm, spanning from 4:05 to 5:10 on the humeral head clockface. The AIGHL bony footprint on the glenoid neck was 48.4 ± 24.5 mm2. The confluent attachment of the AIGHL to the labrum was 1.2 ± 0.9 mm medial to the most lateral extent of the labral rim, corresponding to 3:30 to 4:05 on the glenoid clockface. The mean length of the PIGHL attachment along the intra-articular cartilage margin was 12.0 ± 1.4 mm, spanning from 7:40 to 8:50 on the humeral head clockface. The PIGHL attachment to the labrum was 1.2 ± 0.5 mm medial to the most lateral extent of the labral rim. This attachment to the labrum was calculated to span from 7:35 to 8:50 on the glenoid clockface. The mean length of the CHL origin from the coracoid was 12.9 mm, with its most anterior point located a mean of 14.1 mm from the tip of the coracoid. The mean length of the CHL attachment along the intra-articular cartilage margin was 10.0 ± 4.0 mm, spanning from 11:55 to 12:40 on the humeral head clockface.
Glenohumeral ligaments were consistently identified in all specimens with minor anatomic variability for the SGHL, MGHL, AIGHL, and PIGHL. Important landmarks including the cartilage surface of the humerus, the bicipital groove, and the clockface can be utilized intraoperatively when attempting anatomic repair of these structures.
There are multiple open and arthroscopic shoulder procedures that rely on anatomic restoration of these static stabilizers to provide optimal shoulder function and prevent recurrent instability. The qualitative descriptions are comparable with current literature; however, this study is the first to quantify the glenohumeral capsular and ligamentous attachments. The data provided allow for reliable landmarks to be established from known bony and soft tissue structures.