Scapular Fracture

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A scapular fracture is a break in the scapula (shoulder blade). The scapula is a large, flat bone shaped like a triangle that is located on each side of your upper back.

Shoulder Anatomy

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

You may bleed or get an infection if you have surgery. You may get a blood clot in your arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. If left untreated, the bones may not go back to the way they were before. You may have a weak grip or problems moving your arm.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine. If your pain medicine contains acetaminophen, do not take over-the-counter acetaminophen as well. Too much acetaminophen can damage your liver.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Tetanus shot: This is medicine to keep you from getting tetanus if the fracture also has an open wound. It is given as a shot. You should have a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your arm may become red, swollen, and sore from this shot.

Tests:

  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your scapula. You may be given dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your scapula and surrounding tissues and bones. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • X-rays: You may need x-rays of your scapula, clavicle, and humerus to check for broken bones or other problems. X-rays of your lungs and both your injured and uninjured scapula may also be taken.

Treatment:

  • Physical therapy: You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.

  • Sling: Caregivers may put your arm in a sling to support your scapula while it heals.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to put your bones back in their normal position if the fracture is severe. Pins, plates, and screws may be used to hold the bone together. Other problems, such as an injury to a nerve, blood vessel, or other organs may also be treated with surgery.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Scapular Fracture (Inpatient Care)

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