Management of scapular fractures

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2012 Mar;20(3):130-41. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-20-03-130.


With the exception of displaced articular glenoid fractures, management of scapular fractures has largely consisted of benign neglect, with an emphasis on motion as allowed by the patient's pain. Better understanding of this injury has resulted in greater acceptance of surgical management of highly displaced variants. However, little agreement exists on indications for surgery, and there is no clear comparative evidence on outcomes for surgically versus nonsurgically managed fractures. Scapular fractures are the result of high-energy mechanisms of injury, and they often occur in conjunction with other traumatic injuries. In addition to performing meticulous physical and neurologic examination, the surgeon should obtain plain radiographs, including AP shoulder, axillary, and scapular Y views. Three-dimensional CT is used to determine accurate measurements in surgical candidates. Surgical approach, technique, and timing are individualized based on fracture type and other patient-related factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fractures, Bone / diagnosis
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / pathology
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Radiography
  • Scapula / diagnostic imaging
  • Scapula / injuries*
  • Scapula / pathology