Snapping scapula is characterized by a “snapping” of the shoulder blade (scapula) that often can be heard or felt by the patient when rolling the shoulder. This condition typically results from dysfunctional movement of the scapula. The snapping may be painful and affect shoulder function, or there may be little or no pain with normal function. The snapping is caused by the inflamed and swollen bursal tissue catching behind the scapula and rubbing along the chest wall and ribs. The bursal tissue which resides between the scapula and chest wall serves to protect structures as they glide back and forth against each other. The bursa may become inflamed as the scapula moves back and forth, resulting in bursitis and producing the “snapping” sensation. If the patient fails conservative treatment with formal physical therapy, activity modification and injections, arthroscopy scapuloplasty may be indicated to remove inflamed bursal tissue and a small portion of the scapula that continues to contact and cause irritation and pain
For patients failing conservative treatment, Dr. Chudik performs the surgery arthroscopically through small incisions (arthroscopic portals) to avoid larger open incisions and detachment of muscles from the scapula required with open surgery. While viewing arthroscopically in the scapulothoracic space between the scapula and the chest wall, Dr. Chudik uses special arthroscopic instruments to remove inflamed bursal tissue and any prominent bone, typically at the superomedial border of the scapula, to stop the snapping and pain.