Orthopedics & Orthopedic Surgery
Area of Focus: Shoulder & Upper Extremity
Arthroscopic suprascapular nerve release confers three distinct advantages over the traditional open technique. First, it provides a better visualization of the neurovascular structures and the TSL. As the SSN can be as small as 2 mm, it can be difficult to appreciate via open surgery. This can result in iatrogenic injury during dissection of the transverse scapular notch. The magnification of the arthroscope offers better visualization and permits a safer nerve release.The spinal accessory nerve is also not at significant risk during the arthroscopic procedure because the SSN portal is less than 5 cm medial to the SSN. Second, arthroscopic release of the SSN is significantly less invasive, as it does not involve detachment of the trapezius insertion, which create less morbidity than the open procedure. Third, the procedure is performed as an outpatient surgery and in a significantly shorter time than can be achieved with the open technique. The operative time for the first release was approximately 1 hour, but the learning curve has enabled Dr. Lafosse to increase efficiency significantly and to reduce the operative time to under 10 minutes.