High-energy Pediatric Scapula Fractures and Their Associated Injuries

Steven F. Shannon, Nicholas M. Hernandez, Stephen A. Sems, Annalise N. Larson, Todd A. Milbrandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: The purpose of this study was to evaluate pediatric scapula fractures occurring in high-energy motorized vehicle accidents and their associated injury patterns in a pediatric patient population. METHODS:: One thousand nine hundred sixty-eight pediatric patients who presented after either on-road or off-road motorized vehicle accidents between 1996 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. Thirty-eight patients were found to have scapula fractures and the remaining 1930 were identified as controls. RESULTS:: A total of 39 scapula fractures occurred in 38 patients. The most common pattern was the AO/OTA 14-A3 (n=32), followed by 14-A2 (n=5), 14-B1 (n=1), and 14-C2 (n=1). Scapula fracture patients experienced higher rate of spine fractures (42% vs. 18%, P=0.001), skull fractures (26% vs. 12%, P=0.02), rib fractures (40% vs. 7.6%, P<0.0001), clavicle fractures (34% vs. 6%, P<0.0001), and upper extremity fractures (58% vs. 21%, P<0.0001) compared with controls. Scapula fracture patients had higher Injury Severity Scores (22.1 vs. 10.8, P<0.0001), thoracic injury (79% vs. 31%, P<0.0001), intracranial hemorrhage (32% vs. 15%, P=0.012), pneumothorax (55% vs. 8%, P<0.0001), and lung contusion (63% vs. 12%, P<0.0001). No difference in mortality was observed for scapula and control patients (5% vs. 2%, P=0.302). CONCLUSIONS:: Pediatric scapula fractures were not associated with higher mortality rates in this series but were associated with significant morbidity as demonstrated by high rates of associated intracranial hemorrhage, skull fractures, thoracic injury, upper extremity fractures, and spine fractures compared with control patients. Surgeons who care for pediatric trauma patients should view scapula fractures as an indicator for more significant injuries. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 8 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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