Introduction: The coracoid process is a small hook-shaped feature on the scapula and a key structure of the superior shoulder suspensory complex (SSSC). Fractures of the coracoid are rare. Therefore, no consensus exists regarding treatment of coracoid process fractures. Systematically review indications, outcomes and complications of traumatic coracoid process fractures in adults, and to provide a treatment algorithm.
Materials and methods: A systematic review was performed to identify all relevant studies on the treatment of coracoid process fractures. The methodological quality of the studies was scored using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS).
Results: Eight case series, with a total of 110 coracoid process fractures, were included. All studies were of moderate methodological quality. Of the fractures, 78% were Ogawa type I fractures, 13% Ogawa type II and 9% were unclassified. Conservative treatment showed good results in most Ogawa type II fractures and type I fractures without associated disruptions of the SSSC. Most Ogawa type I fractures with associated disruptions of the SSSC received surgical treatment showing good results.
Conclusion: Based on moderate quality studies, surgical treatment may be considered in Ogawa type I fractures with multiple disruptions of the SSSC. A conservative treatment seems sufficient in other fracture types.
Keywords: Associated injuries; Coracoid process fracture; Internal fixation; Open reduction; SSSC; Scapula.