Arthroscopic Partial Scapulectomy for the Treatment of Snapping Scapula


      To assess the outcome of arthroscopic partial scapulectomy in patients with a snapping scapula.


      Twenty consecutive patients who underwent arthroscopic partial scapulectomy (one bilateral) for the treatment of a snapping scapula were assessed. All had failed non-operative treatment including physiotherapy and had reported transient symptomatic relief from an ultrasound guided local anaesthetic injection. Pre- and post-operative function and pain was assessed using the Constant and Quick DASH scores. Operative Technique: Surgery was undertaken with the patient prone and the hand of the operative side placed in the small of the patient’s back creating a “Chicken Wing” position to allow greater access to the undersurface of the scapula. A viewing portal was established Inferio-Medially and a direct lateral portal was used to resect the scapula using a combination of radiofrequency and a burr.


      At a mean follow up of 43 months (11-79) a significant improvement in the Constant score was noted from 58 (48-69) to 86 (59-97). The mean post-operative Quick DASH score was 79. All of the patients had gained a significant improvement with regards to crepitus and pain, which was completely absent in 12. One patient developed a gradual recurrence of symptoms and underwent a repeat arthroscopy with further scapula resection, resulting in improvement in their symptoms. No complications were reported. All of the patients reported that they would be happy to have this procedure again.


      Arthroscopic scapulectomy is a safe and reproducible procedure for the treatment of snapping scapula with significantly less scarring than an open procedure.