Scapular fractures: a common diagnostic pitfall

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Daniela Berritto
Antonio Pinto
Anna Russo
Fabrizio Urraro
Antonella Laporta
Maria Paola Belfiore
Roberto Grassi


scapula, fractures, diagnostic imaging


Scapular fractures are one of the most difficult fractures to diagnose on radiographs. Detection can be challenging because of the obscuration by the overlying structures or incomplete imaging due to difficult patient collaboration. Familiarity with imaging characteristics of these abnormalities will allow radiologists to better diagnose and characterize scapular fractures. Three-dimensional computed tomographic scans are considered the gold standard for scapular diagnoses. Treatment strategies differ depending on the type of scapular fractures, but the site and degree of displacement will determine whether surgical intervention should be considered. Complications can occur in fractures that are undiagnosed or improperly evaluated. The purpose of this article is to describe imaging features of traumatic scapular injury, and discuss the role of diagnostic imaging in clinical decision making after shoulder trauma.



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