Scapular body fractures-should we be fixing more of these?

Austin Heare, Stephen M. Oleszkiewicz, Roberto Carlos Hernández Irizarry, Peter A. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The question of whether we should be fixing more scapular body fractures originates from the historical preference for nonoperative management of these fractures. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in operative management due to the recognition that scapular malunion can cause significant disability. While the treatment pendulum has shifted away from benign neglect, finding the right balance of surgical aggression remains controversial. In general, the majority of scapula fractures can successfully be treated nonoperatively with excellent functional results. However, numerous case studies exist demonstrating poor outcomes of scapular body or neck fractures with increased deformity. The literature suggests that a glenopolar angle (GPA) less than 20 degrees can lead to a significant decrease in shoulder function. Additionally, retrospective studies using lateral border offset (LBO) greater than >2 cm and angulation >45 degrees as a surgical indication demonstrate functional outcomes with near normal strength and range of motion and low complication rates. While numerous cut-offs for surgical indications have been recommended, all indications are considered relative and treatment should be individualized based on patient characteristics and goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberaoj-20-46
JournalAnnals of Joint
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PAC reports grants from Stryker, grants from Depuy-Synthes, other from KLS Martin, grants from AONA, COTA, OMeGA Depuy-Synthes, Stryker, Zimmer-Biomet, BoneFoam, Acumed, KLSMartin, Exactech, other from BoneFoam, personal fees from Exactech, Depuy-Synthes, personal fees from AO International, outside the submitted work. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to declare.

Publisher Copyright:
© Annals of Joint. All rights reserved.


  • Extraarticular scapula fracture
  • Glenopolar angle (GPA)
  • Scapula body fracture
  • Scapula fracture


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