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      Excellent Recovery of Shoulder Movements After Decompression and Neurolysis of Long Thoracic Nerve in Teen Patients With Winging Scapula

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          Abstract

          Introduction: In teens, athletes, in general, have been found to have shoulder pain and or winging scapula resulting from long thoracic or spinal accessory nerve injuries. Accident (fall) and stretch injuries due to overuse and poor sports techniques mainly cause these injuries that affect their upper extremity movements and functions. Here, we report a significant improvement in scapula winging and shoulder active range of motion in 16 teen patients after long thoracic nerve decompression and neurolysis. Patients and Methods: This was a retrospective study of 16 teen patients who had severe winging scapula and poor shoulder movements and function. Therefore, they underwent decompression and neurolysis of long thoracic nerve with us, between 2005 and 2016. The average patient age was 17 years (range, 14-19 years). These patients had been suffering from paralysis for an average of 15 months (range, 2-48 months). All patients underwent a preoperative electromyographic assessment in addition to clinical evaluation to confirm the long thoracic nerve injury. Results: Scapula winging was severe in 10 of 16 patients (63%), moderate in 2 patients (12%), and mild in 4 patients (25%) in our present study. Mean shoulder abduction (128°) and flexion (138°) were poor preoperatively. Shoulder abduction and flexion improved to 180° in 15 patients (94%) and good (120°) in 1 patient (6%) at least 2 months after surgery. In 11 patients (69%), the winged scapula was completely corrected postsurgically and it was less prominent in other 5 patients. Conclusion: Long thoracic nerve decompression and neurolysis significantly improved scapular winging in all 16 teen patients in our present study, producing “excellent” shoulder movements in 15 patients (94%) and “good” result in 1 patient (6%).

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          Most cited references 19

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          Scapular winging: anatomical review, diagnosis, and treatments

          Scapular winging is a rare debilitating condition that leads to limited functional activity of the upper extremity. It is the result of numerous causes, including traumatic, iatrogenic, and idiopathic processes that most often result in nerve injury and paralysis of either the serratus anterior, trapezius, or rhomboid muscles. Diagnosis is easily made upon visible inspection of the scapula, with serratus anterior paralysis resulting in medial winging of the scapula. This is in contrast to the lateral winging generated by trapezius and rhomboid paralysis. Most cases of serratus anterior paralysis spontaneously resolve within 24 months, while conservative treatment of trapezius paralysis is less effective. A conservative course of treatment is usually followed for rhomboid paralysis. To allow time for spontaneous recovery, a 6–24 month course of conservative treatment is often recommended, after which if there is no recovery, patients become candidates for corrective surgery.
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            Peripheral neuropathy: clinical and electrophysiological considerations.

            This article is a primer on the pathophysiology and clinical evaluation of peripheral neuropathy for the radiologist. Magnetic resonance neurography has utility in the diagnosis of many focal peripheral nerve lesions. When combined with history, examination, electrophysiology, and laboratory data, future advancements in high-field magnetic resonance neurography may play an increasingly important role in the evaluation of patients with peripheral neuropathy.
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              Microneurolysis and decompression of long thoracic nerve injury are effective in reversing scapular winging: Long-term results in 50 cases

              Background Long thoracic nerve injury leading to scapular winging is common, often caused by closed trauma through compression, stretching, traction, direct extrinsic force, penetrating injury, or neuritides such as Parsonage-Turner syndrome. We undertook the largest series of long thoracic nerve decompression and neurolysis yet reported to demonstrate the usefulness of long thoracic nerve decompression. Methods Winging was bilateral in 3 of the 47 patients (26 male, 21 female), yielding a total of 50 procedures. The mean age of the patients was 33.4 years, ranging from 24–57. Causation included heavy weight-lifting (31 patients), repetitive throwing (5 patients), deep massage (2 patients), repetitive overhead movement (1 patient), direct trauma (1 patient), motor bike accident (1 patient), and idiopathic causes (9 patients). Decompression and microneurolysis of the long thoracic nerve were performed in the supraclavicular space. Follow-up (average of 25.7 months) consisted of physical examination and phone conversations. The degree of winging was measured by the operating surgeon (RKN). Patients also answered questions covering 11 quality-of-life facets spanning four domains of the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire. Results Thoracic nerve decompression and neurolysis improved scapular winging in 49 (98%) of the 50 cases, producing "good" or "excellent" results in 46 cases (92%). At least some improvement occurred in 98% of cases that were less than 10 years old. Pain reduction through surgery was good or excellent in 43 (86%) cases. Shoulder instability affected 21 patients preoperatively and persisted in 5 of these patients after surgery, even in the 5 patients with persistent instability who experienced some relief from the winging itself. Conclusion Surgical decompression and neurolysis of the long thoracic nerve significantly improve scapular winging in appropriate patients, for whom these techniques should be considered a primary modality of functional restoration.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute, Houston
                Author notes
                Journal
                Eplasty
                Eplasty
                ePlasty
                Eplasty
                Open Science Company, LLC
                1937-5719
                2019
                25 April 2019
                : 19
                6489425 15
                Copyright © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article whereby the authors retain copyright of the work. The article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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