What is a fracture of the shoulder blade (Scapula)?
Fracture of the shoulder blade (scapula) is a relatively rare injury and is generally related to high energy impact. Commonly results from falls from heights or motor vehicle accidents. They can involve fracturing the body of the scapula or even the socket of the shoulder joint. Depending upon the amount of the displacement and whether or not the socket of the shoulder joint is involved will determine the most appropriate form of treatment.
The symptoms of a fractured shoulder blade are pain and, in many cases, other associated injuries which may even distract from the fractured shoulder blade.
The diagnosis of the fractured shoulder blade is made with plain X-Rays and CT scans.
Treatments for the shoulder blade fracture tend to be non-operative in most cases. Occasionally when there is marked displacement or involvement of the shoulder socket (glenoid) operative fixation will be recommended. If operative fixation is recommended it is generally performed through incision involving the back of the shoulder.
The outcomes of the shoulder blade fractures are generally quite good as there is normally very comprehensive healing of the fracture. In cases where the socket of the shoulder is involved, there can be stiffness which is associated with the fracture healing that will tend to settle over 1 or 2 years after the fracture has healed.