Subscapularis recess

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 28 Dec 2020

The subscapularis recess, also known as the superior subscapularis recess or subscapularis bursa, is a normal extension of the glenohumeral joint capsule in between the superior and middle glenohumeral ligaments.

Radiographic features


On sagittal oblique sequences and when distended with fluid, it may form a saddlebag-like appearance by hanging over the subscapularis tendon, inferior to the coracoid process.

Differential diagnosis

  • subcoracoid bursa
    • does not communicate with the glenohumeral joint
    • has a more caudal extent

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: shoulder bursa illustration (creative commons image)
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  • Figure 2: shoulder bursa (Gray's illustration)
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