Snapping Scapula Surgeon

Are you experiencing shoulder blade pain and a grating, snapping or grinding sound in the scapula area? If so, you may have scapulothoracic bursitis, or more commonly known as snapping scapula. Snapping scaupla specialist, Dr. James Mazzara provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities who have developed snapping scapula. Contact Dr. Mazzara’s team today!

Snapping scapula surgery

What is a Scapulothoracic Bursitis?

Scapulothoracic bursitis, also known as snapping scapula syndrome, causes pain, mechanical catching, and grinding symptoms around the shoulder blade (scapula).  It is believed that this condition is the consequence of bursitis (inflammation) underneath the scapula. The bursa is a normal lubricating tissue which acts to allow the scapula to glide with low friction smoothly over the ribs with normal shoulder motion.

Snapping Scapula | Scapulothoracic Bursitis

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What are the treatment options for snapping scapula syndrome?

Dr. Mazzara usually begins treatment with a conservative approach. Pain relief is the first step and often a corticosteroid injection into the scapulothoracic bursa is administered. This is performed in the office where the injection is placed into the bursa, just under the scapula.

A physical therapy program to strengthen the scapular muscles and correct any mechanical motion problems is also recommended. Finally, anti‐inflammatory medications may also be helpful in alleviating discomfort.

What if non-surgical treatments for scapulothoracic bursitis do not work?

In some cases, non-surgical remedies do not alleviate the pain that interferes with daily activity. Surgery is reserved for those few patients and is not widely available. Dr. James Mazzara, shoulder surgeon, offers this procedure in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.

Are you a candidate for scapulothoracic bursectomy?

There are two ways to initiate a consultation with Dr. Mazzara:

You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review with Dr. Mazzara.

You can schedule an office consultation with Dr. Mazzara.

What Happens During Scapulothoracic Bursectomy Surgery?

This procedure involves the removal of bone spurs and inflamed tissue. Dr. Mazzara, will do a debridement of thickened/fibrotic bursal tissue to restore full painless motion. Removal of the scapulothoracic bursa can be accomplished arthroscopically. The patient is placed on the operating table face down (prone) and the arthroscope (small camera) and small surgical instruments are inserted underneath the scapula.

An open scapulothoracic bursectomy, reserved for serious cases of snapping scapula or scapulothoracic bursitis, can involve the resection, or removal of the corner of the scapula to relieve the abnormal grinding. Removal of the bursa can happen prior to the resection through arthroscopic surgery, or during open surgery depending on what is best for the patient as determined by Dr. Mazzara.

The technique is quite successful with a period of immobilization after surgery (up to four weeks.) Post-operative rehabilitation then includes progressive range of motion with active range of motion at about eight weeks. Resistance and strengthening is recommended based on the patient and their recovery progression.  Recovery, when done arthroscopically, is typically quick, and sometimes can even be within a few days from the procedure.

If you are interested in more information about a scapulothoracic bursectomy as a treatment for snapping scapula syndrome, please contact Dr. James Mazzara, orthopedic shoulder surgeon in the Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.