An unusual case of suprascapular nerve neuropathy: A case report

Charalambos P. Economides, Loizos Christodoulou, Theodoros Kyriakides, Elpidoforos S. Soteriades

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction. Suprascapular nerve neuropathy constitutes an unusual cause of shoulder weakness, with the most common etiology being nerve compression from a ganglion cyst at the suprascapular or spinoglenoid notch. We present a puzzling case of a man with suprascapular nerve neuropathy that may have been associated with an appendectomy. The case was attributed to nerve injury as the most likely cause that may have occurred during improper post-operative patient mobilization. Case presentation. A 23-year-old Caucasian man presented to an orthopedic surgeon with a history of left shoulder weakness of several weeks' duration. The patient complained of pain and inability to lift minimal weight, such as a glass of water, following an appendectomy. His orthopedic clinical examination revealed obvious atrophy of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles and 2 of 5 muscle strength scores on flexion resistance and external rotation resistance. Magnetic resonance imaging showed diffuse high signal intensity within the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles and early signs of minimal fatty infiltration consistent with denervation changes. No compression of the suprascapular nerve in the suprascapular or spinoglenoid notch was noted. Electromyographic studies showed active denervation effects in the supraspinatus muscle and more prominent in the left infraspinatus muscle. The findings were compatible with damage to the suprascapular nerve, especially the part supplying the infraspinatus muscle. On the basis of the patient's history, clinical examination, and imaging studies, the diagnosis was suspected to be associated with a possible traction injury of the suprascapular nerve that could have occurred during the patient's transfer from the operating table following an appendectomy. Conclusion: Our case report may provide important insight into patient transfer techniques used by hospital personnel, may elucidate the clinical significance of careful movement of patients following general anesthesia, and may have important implications for patient safety techniques, including those outlined in the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number419
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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