The scapula, more commonly known as the shoulder blade, is a bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone). Snapping scapula is a shoulder condition that can include a variety of symptoms, most often a clicking or grinding of the shoulder blade with movement. This can occasionally cause inflammation of the bursa underneath the shoulder blade, which is known as scapulothoracic bursitis.
Scapular bursectomy with resection
Initial Snapping Scapula Treatment
Initial treatment for this problem includes extensive physical therapy, and often times a cortisone injection into the space underneath the scapula where the inflammation occurs. If symptoms continue despite conservative treatment, surgical intervention is an option. Scapulothoracic bursectomy with medial angle resection is an arthroscopic procedure that is done using two to three small incisions around the shoulder blade, one used for visualizing the space with a camera (arthroscope) and the others used to insert surgical tools and instruments. The surgery involves removing the inflamed bursa located between the ribs and scapula and shaving off the bony prominence (medial angle) located on the undersurface of the scapula.
Scapular Bursectomy Recovery
This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will be able to go home that same day. You will be placed in a sling for the first four weeks after surgery and will only be allowed to move your elbow, wrist, and hand during this time. Four weeks after your surgery, the sling is removed and you will begin physical therapy, first to work on motion and eventually progress to strengthening. A typical recovery time is four to six months.
Physical Therapy Protocols
Anthony Romeo, MD
Dr. Anthony Romeo is one of the nation’s leading orthopaedic surgeons specializing in the management and surgical treatment of shoulder and elbow conditions. His state-of-the-art practice employs minimally-invasive arthroscopic techniques to accelerate the recovery process for a range of challenging conditions.