Diagnosis and Treatment of Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment

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Abstract

To achieve an excellent and lasting outcome of surgical treatment of suprascapular nerve entrapment, correct diagnosis is essential. This diagnosis is made by a combined process of exclusion and abnormal electrodiagnostic findings. An increased latency on the affected side indicates impaired nerve conduction and is indicative of entrapment. From 1982 to December 1997, 39 patients underwent surgical release of the suprascapular ligament for entrapment of the suprascapular nerve. Eighteen of 39 patients had had 31 previous operations on the shoulder with no relief of pain. One patient had a failed release. Twenty-seven patients had excellent results and returned to work in an average of 3.3 months. Eleven patients had good results and one patient had a fair result. When surgical treatment was delayed and there was advanced muscle atrophy, the pain subsided after release of the suprascapular ligament but the atrophy persisted. With early surgical treatment, milder muscle atrophy subsided along with the shoulder pain. The author recommends early surgical release of the suprascapular ligament for entrapment of the suprascapular nerve once the diagnosis has been made.

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