Entrapment of the suprascapular nerve.

Fabre T, Piton C, Leclouerec G, Gervais-Delion F, Durandeau A. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1999 May;81(3):414-9.

Operative release for entrapment of the suprascapular nerve was carried out in 35 patients. They were assessed at an average of 30 months (12 to 98) after operation using the functional shoulder score devised by Constant and Murley. The average age at the time of surgery was 40 years (17 to 67). Entrapment was due to injury in ten patients and no cause was found in three; 34 had diffuse posterolateral shoulder pain. The strength of abduction was reduced in all the patients. The average Constant score, unadjusted for age or gender, before operative release was 47% (28 to 53). In 25 of the patients both the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles were atrophied and seven had isolated atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle. The average conduction time from Erb’s point to the supraspinatus muscle and to the infraspinatus muscle was 5.7 ms (2.8 to 12.8) and 7.4 ms (3.4 to 13.4), respectively. In two patients MRI revealed a ganglion in the infraspinatus fossa and, in another, a complete rupture of the rotator cuff. The average time from the onset of symptoms to operation was ten months (3 to 36). A posterior approach was advocated. The average Constant score, after operative release, unadjusted for age or gender was 77% (35 to 91). The overall result was excellent in ten of the patients, very good in seven, good in 14, fair in two, and poor in two. The symptomatic and functional outcome in our series confirmed the usefulness and safety of operative decompression for entrapment of the suprascapular nerve.