Suprascapular Neuropathy

Boykin, Robert E.; Friedman, Darren J.; Higgins, Laurence D.; Warner, Jon J. P.
October 2010
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;10/6/2010, Vol. 92-A Issue 13, p2348
Academic Journal
Suprascapular neuropathy has often been overlooked as a source of shoulder pain. The condition may be more common than once thought as it is being diagnosed more frequently. Etiologies for suprascapular neuropathy may include repetitive overhead activities, traction from a rotator cuff tear, and compression from a space-occupying lesion at the suprascapular or spinoglenoid notch. Magnetic resonance imaging is useful for visualizing space-occupying lesions, other pathological entities of the shoulder, and fatty infiltration of the rotator cuff. Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity studies remain the standard for diagnosis of suprascapular neuropathy; however, data on inter observer reliability are limited. Initial treatment of isolated suprascapular neuropathy is typically nonoperative, consisting of physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and activity modification; however, open or arthroscopic operative intervention is warranted when there is extrinsic nerve compression or progressive pain and/or weakness. More clinical data are needed to determine if treatment of the primary offending etiology in cases of traction from a rotator cuff tear or compression from a cyst secondary to a labral tear is sufficient or whether concomitant decompression of the nerve is warranted for management of the neuropathy.


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