Suprascapular neuropathy is an uncommon clinical diagnosis. Although there have been a number of case series reporting on this pathologic process, to date there has been no systematic review of these studies. This study aimed to synthesize the literature on suprascapular neuropathy with regard to clinical outcomes. The secondary objective was to detail the diagnosis and treatment of suprascapular neuropathy and any associated complications.
A systematic review was performed to identify studies that reported the results or clinical outcomes of suprascapular nerve decompression. The searches were performed using MEDLINE through PubMed and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Twenty-one studies comprising 275 patients and 276 shoulders met inclusion criteria. The mean age was 41.9 years, and mean follow-up was 32.5 months. The most common symptom was deep, posterior shoulder pain (97.8%), with a mean duration of symptoms before decompression of 19.0 months; 94% of patients underwent electrodiagnostic testing before decompression, and 85% of patients had results consistent with suprascapular neuropathy. The most common outcome reported was the visual analog scale score, followed by the Constant-Murley score. The mean postoperative Constant-Murley score obtained was 89% of ideal maximum. Ninety-two percent of athletes were able to return to sport. Only 2 (0.74%) complications were reported in the included studies.
Surgical decompression in the setting of suprascapular neuropathy leads to satisfactory outcomes as evidenced by the patient-reported outcomes and return to sport rate. Furthermore, the rate of complications appears to be low.