A New Surgical Technique for Internal Shoulder Contractures Secondary to Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injury: An Anterior Coracohumeral Ligament Release
12 December 2018
20 May 2019
13 August 2019 (online)
Background Obstetric brachial plexus injuries result from traction injury during delivery; 30% of these children sustain persisting functional limitations related to an external rotation deficit of the shoulder. The aim of this study was to compare the intraoperative gain in external rotation after a posterior subscapular release and an anterior coracohumeral ligament release.
Methods This is a prospective study on 102 children with an internal rotation contracture of the shoulder who received either a posterior subscapular release (posterior skin incision along the medial border of the scapula of 3–5 cm) or an anterior (5-mm skin incision) coracohumeral ligament release between 1996 and 2010. After general anesthesia, internal and external rotations in both adduction and abduction were measured before and after the surgical release.
Results After a posterior subscapular release, the intraoperative external rotation improved with a mean of 64 degrees (95% confidence interval [CI]: 54–74; p < 0.001) in adduction and with a mean of 41 degrees (95% CI: 32–49; p < 0.001) in abduction. After an anterior coracohumeral ligament release, external rotation increased with a mean of 61 degrees (95% CI: 56–66; p < 0.001) in adduction and a mean of 42 degrees in abduction (95%CI: 39–45, p < 0.001). Differences between these two groups were not statistically different.
Conclusion The anterior release technique shows comparable results with the posterior subscapular release. And since it is performed through a smaller incision of 5 mm, this is our preferred method to increase passive external rotation.
Level of evidence II.
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