Scapulothoracic dissociation

N. A. Ebraheim, H. S. An, W. T. Jackson, S. R. Pearlstein, A. Burgess, H. Tscherne, N. Hass, J. Kellam, B. U.J. Wipperman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Scapulothoracic dissociation is a rare entity that consists of disruption of the scapulothoracic articulation. The mechanism of injury is probably traction caused by a blunt force to the shoulder girdle. This lesion is characterized by massive soft-tissue swelling of the shoulder; lateral displacement of the scapula, measured radiographically; an injury to bone (an acromioclavicular separation, a displaced fracture of the clavicle, or a sternoclavicular disruption); a severe neurovascular injury; and a variety of upper and lower-extremity fractures. We treated fifteen patients who had this lesion, most of whom had several associated injuries. Three patients died: two from exsanguination and one from a cardiac arrest. In most patients, the damaged artery was repaired and the brachial plexus was explored. All of the twelve patients who had a complete brachial-plexus injury were left with a flail upper extremity. Most patients refused amputation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-432
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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