Objectives: To describe the technique and to determine the outcome of operatively treated displaced scapular body or glenoid neck fractures using minifragment fixation through a modified Judet approach.
Design: Retrospective review of scapular or glenoid fractures.
Setting: Level 1 teaching trauma center.
Patients: All treated scapular or glenoid fractures over 7 years (1999-2005) were determined. Of a total of 227 scapular or glenoid fractures, 37 were treated with open reduction internal fixation and formed the basis of study. All patients were followed for a minimum of 1 year until healing or discharge from care.
Interventions: All operatively treated scapular fractures were performed in the lateral position on a radiolucent table. A modified Judet approach was used in all patients. The posterior deltoid was incised off the scapular spine cephalad reaching the lateral scapular border. The interval between the teres minor and infraspinatus was paramount for fracture reduction and implant insertion. The 2.7-mm minifragment plates were applied along the lateral border of the scapula.
Main outcome measurement: Radiographic assessment of fracture healing and clinical assessment of shoulder function.
Results: The majority of patients were males (31 males, 6 females) who sustained blunt trauma. All scapular fractures maintained fixation and reduction. No wound or muscle dehiscence problems were noted. Average range of motion was 158 degrees (range 90-180 degrees). There were no fixation failures or instances of implant loosening.
Conclusions: The modified Judet approach allows for excellent scapular and glenoid fracture visualization and reduction while preserving rotator cuff function. Minifragment fixation along the lateral scapular border provides excellent plate position, screw length, and fracture stability.