Delayed operative management of fractures of the scapula

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 May;91(5):619-26. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B5.22158.


Between 1998 and 2007, 22 patients with fractures of the scapula had operative treatment more than three weeks after injury. The indications for operation included displaced intra-articular fractures, medialisation of the glenohumeral joint, angular deformity, or displaced double lesions of the superior shoulder suspensory complex. Radiological and functional outcomes were obtained for 16 of 22 patients. Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, Hand (DASH) and Short form-36 scores were collected for 14 patients who were operated on after March 2002. The mean delay from injury to surgery was 30 days (21 to 57). The mean follow-up was for 27 months (12 to 72). At the last review the mean DASH score was 14 (0 to 41). Of the 16 patients with follow-up, 13 returned to their previous employment and recreational activities without restrictions. No wound complications, infection or nonunion occurred. Malunion of the scapula can be prevented by surgical treatment of fractures in patients with delayed presentation. Surgery is safe, effective, and gives acceptable functional results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fracture Healing
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Fractures, Malunited / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scapula / injuries*
  • Scapula / surgery
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult