Current Concepts Review   |    
Suprascapular Neuropathy
Robert E. Boykin, MD1; Darren J. Friedman, MD2; Laurence D. Higgins, MD3; Jon J.P. Warner, MD1
1 Harvard Shoulder Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, Suite 3200, 3G, Room 3-046, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail address for J.J.P. Warner: jwarner@partners.org
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, Hospital for Joint Diseases, 301 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity.

Investigation performed at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright © 2010 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2010 Oct 06;92(13):2348-2364. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.I.01743
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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 interobserver 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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