Pectoralis Major Ruptures: A Review of Current Management

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Apr;24(4):655-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2014.10.024. Epub 2015 Jan 1.

Abstract

Background: Rupture of the pectoralis major tendon is increasing in incidence, with a spike in the number of reported cases in the last decade. This is commonly attributed to an increased interest in health, fitness, and weight training combined occasionally with concomitant use of anabolic steroids. It is essential for the diagnosis to be recognized and for the patient to be referred to a surgeon with expertise in dealing with these injuries so that appropriate and informed care can be implemented.

Methods: Based on a comprehensive review of the literature and expert opinion, we present a review of pectoralis major ruptures, including information pertaining to the anatomy and biomechanics of the musculotendinous unit and how this relates to the injury pattern and management; the clinical diagnosis and indications for additional imaging; and the indications for nonoperative and operative management along with the authors' preferred technique. A summary of outcomes is presented.

Conclusion: The combination of patient demographics and clinical features frequently yields an accurate diagnosis, but further imaging is helpful. Magnetic resonance imaging with dedicated sequencing is the investigation of choice and can aid in diagnosis, surgical planning, and providing important information about prognosis and outcome. Early surgery is preferable, but good outcomes in the chronic setting are achievable. With a detailed understanding of the anatomy, direct repair to bone is possible with either transosseous or anchor repair techniques in acute and the majority of chronic cases. In chronic cases in which direct repair is not achievable, autograft and allograft reconstruction should be considered.

Keywords: Pectoralis major; reconstruction; repair; tendon.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pectoralis Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Pectoralis Muscles / injuries*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / surgery
  • Rupture / diagnosis
  • Rupture / etiology
  • Rupture / therapy
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery*