Treatment strategies for scapular spine fractures: a scoping review

EFORT Open Rev. 2021 Sep 14;6(9):788-796. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.6.200153. eCollection 2021 Sep.


Fractures of the scapular spine are relatively rare and can occur without (1) or with (2) association to a reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA). To date there are only limited data on the topic. The aim of this scoping review was to identify all available literature and report current treatment concepts.A scoping review was conducted by searching PubMed for relevant studies between 2000 and October 2020. All studies were included which gave detailed descriptions of the treatment strategy.A total of 21 studies with 81 patients were included for the analysis. The mean age over all patients was 62 years (range: 24 to 89 years) and 77% of the patients were female. In 19.8% of cases, the fracture occurred after a traumatic fall from standing height. Eighty-six per cent of the patients had an RSA-associated scapular spine fracture (2). These patients were older compared to group (1) (47 ± 19.6 vs. 76 ± 5.6 years, p = 0.0001) and the majority were female (85%). The majority from group (1) underwent operative treatment with plate fixation. Most patients regained full function and range of motion. RSA-associated fractures (2) were mainly treated non-operatively, with moderate clinical outcome. A high rate of nonunions was reported.Scapular spine fractures without RSA are mainly treated operatively with good clinical results. In association with RSA, scapular spine fractures are mainly treated non-operatively and lead to inferior clinical and radiological results. This scenario seems to be problematic and further research is required to sharpen treatment concepts in this group. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2021;6:788-796. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.6.200153.

Keywords: reverse shoulder arthroplasty; scapular fracture; scapular spine fracture.

Publication types

  • Review