Scapula Fractures

Scapula Fractures
May 1, 2016

downloadAs an aspiring and dedicated MBBS and MS Ortho pass out from All India Institute of Medical Science, Dr Gupta started out with passion to serve selflessly. Regarding scapula fractures, his views are emphatic and he states, “Scapula fractures are not very common and are almost always combined with additional injuries. They occur when any part of the scapula bone or shoulder blade bone gets broken.” Talking about scapula bone he asserts, “One of the three bones which make up the shoulder joint is the scapula bone which is a complex, triangular shaped bone and is enveloped in a framework of muscles thus laying deeply protected. It itself comprises of a body, neck and spine and an injury to any one or more than one can cause it to be severely damaged resulting in a fracture.”

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After being in this profession for more than 20 years and with more than 6000 surgeries to his credit, Dr Gupta’s thrive to learn and relatively adopt international techniques and delve deeper into each intrinsic detail about upper extremity complexities has taken him across the globe. Coming back to scapula fractures he stresses that, “Scapula fractures can only be caused by high energy falls from height or motor vehicle accidents / collision at high speed. They generally exhibit bruises, numbness, immense pain and mobility loss as distinctive signs.”

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Even after being one of the best specialists in India for upper extremity and having received various prestigious awards he is humble and compassionate and fervently speaks out, “Scapula fractures are complex because they are often accompanied by other injuries and thus need to be properly examined physically and by diagnostic tests. They are mostly treated by conservative techniques that are non surgical but in severe cases of displacement they are taken up by surgical techniques which need skill and expertise to handle this open reduction internal fixation technique.”

Finishing up his talk about Scapula fractures he says, “Therapy exercises are recommended for a period of few months or year to bring back total shoulder mobility.”


FAQ – Scapula Fractures

Scapula is one of the three bones that make up the shoulder. This shoulder blade is a triangular shaped bone which lies surrounded with a network of muscles that act as its protecting shield. Scapula assists the shoulder in its mobility function in all directions. Scapula itself is made up of body, neck and spine and when any one or more parts of the scapula i.e. its body, neck, Glenoid, Acromion or Coracoid are broken they are termed as scapula fractures.
Out of the total fractures that occur in the body only 1% fractures are scapular fractures and can be caused by:
  • Falls from height
  • Injury from any traumatic collision or high speed vehicle accidents
  • A fracture in the shoulder collarbone and ribs or an injury that has been
sustained by head, lungs or spinal cord can also cause scapular fracture
Common signs of scapula fractures include pain and tenderness on the area of the fracture, extreme pain when the shoulder is tried to be moved, swelling on the backside of the shoulder, numbness, bruising or a crunching sound as if ends of two bones produce when scraping with each other.
Since Scapula fractures are usually assisted with other injuries the orthopedic makes a thorough examination of the shoulder to check for them and then backs up his prognosis by running imaging tests such as an X-ray or CT scan of the shoulder and the chest. After a complete evaluation physically and diagnostically the orthopedics proceeds to formulate the treatment.
Treatment Technique adopted is in direct correlation to the severity of the fracture. The orthopedic may go in for non surgical or surgical treatment technique.

Non Surgical Techniques: Mild fracture is treated by putting the shoulder in a sling till the pain comes and the bone heals assisted by medications. Stress is laid on the movement of shoulder and elbow just after to avoid any stiffness in the muscle movement and the sling is removed once the bone heals. Therapy exercises are continued till long after to restore complete shoulder mobility.

Surgical Techniques: Though scapula fractures are mostly treated conservatively, in severe cases of neck and glenoid displacement they are treated by minimally invasive surgical techniques.

These techniques may vary from fixation through K-wires, metal plates or special screws. The displaced bone is reduced or realigned and then fixed by the use of metal hardware and then held in sling until it is healed. In some severely traumatic cases, the part of damaged bone may be replaced by surgical techniques.
Posted in Condition & Treatments by admin