A winged scapula (scapula alata) is a skeletal medical condition in which the shoulder blade, or shoulder bone, protrudes from a person’s back in an abnormal position. In rare conditions it has the potential to lead to limited functional activity in the upper extremity to which it is adjacent.
Winged Scapula Symptoms
Scapular winging may cause additional symptoms along with the physical protruding of the shoulder blade from the back. Patients with this condition should visit a shoulder specialist clinic. Patients typically report pain, weakness, limited shoulder elevation, decreased range of motion, or deformity.
Winged Scapula Causes
Winging may be caused by injury or dysfunction of the muscles themselves or the nerves that supply the muscles.
Causes of winged scapula:
Loss of serratus anterior muscle function
Loss of trapezius muscle function
Weakness of all the scapula stabilisers
Loss of the scapular suspensory mechanism
Winging secondary to instability
Winging secondary to pain
Brachial Plexus injury
How do you treat a winged scapula?
Nonsurgical treatment. Cases of scapular winging caused by damage to the serratus anterior nerve sometimes heal on their own within two years. Physiotherapy for winged scapula will also be recommended as the first stage of treatment.
For severe cases, winged scapula surgery may be recommended.
Two microsurgery techniques for the treatment of scapula winging: decompression and microneurolysis. During decompression surgery, compression of the nerve is released by carefully removing a section of the affected muscle. Then, scar tissue that may have built up around the nerve itself is surgically removed (microneurolysis) to further relieve any pressure, allowing the nerve to function normally. In essence, the forces pinching the nerve are surgically removed
Is scapular winging normal and how to diagnose?
According to our Winged Scapula Specialist Clinic, this type of condition is relatively common. In severe cases of nerve or muscle damage, which fortunately are uncommon, scapular winging may occur. A winged scapula can at times be quite easy to diagnose since the scapula is protruding out and away from the back.
Standard x-rays, an MRI of the shoulder, neck, or scapula and EMG (electrical) testing of affected nerves and muscles should be performed to confirm the diagnosis in most cases.
Worried of having winged scapula? Get it checked today with our specialist. Call 64762106 or SMS 84998384.