The anatomy and histology of the inferior glenohumeral ligament complex of the shoulder.
The gross and histologic anatomy of the inferior glenohumeral ligament was studied in 11 fresh frozen cadaver shoulders. Arthroscopic observations of the joint capsule through the normal range of motion revealed that the inferior glenohumeral ligament is actually a complex of structures consisting of an anterior band, a posterior band, and an interposed axillary pouch. While these components of the inferior glenohumeral ligament complex were present in all 11 specimens, they were best demonstrated in some shoulders by placing the humeral head in internal or external rotation in varying degrees of abduction. Histologic examination of the joint capsule revealed that the anterior and posterior bands of the inferior glenohumeral ligament complex were readily identifiable as distinct structures comprised of thickened bands of well-organized collagen bundles. Although slight variations were noted in the attachment sites of the anterior and posterior bands to the glenoid, the inferior glenohumeral ligament complex was observed to attach to the humeral neck in one of two distinct configurations. A collar-like attachment, in which the entire inferior glenohumeral ligament complex attaches just inferior to the articular edge of the humeral head, was observed in six specimens. In the remaining five specimens, the attachment was in the shape of a "V," with the anterior and posterior bands attaching adjacent to the articular edge of the humeral head and the axillary pouch attaching at the apex of the "V" distal to the articular edge. The orientation and design of the inferior glenohumeral ligament complex supports the functional concept of this single structure as an important anterior and posterior stabilizer of the shoulder joint.