The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term radio-clinical outcome in scapulothoracic fusion using the Letournel technique (where the fourth rib is passed through the wing of the scapula and cerclage wires are tightened to the two ribs below) for patients suffering from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHMD), a degenerative pathology affecting scapula-stabilizing muscles, leading to scapular winging, shoulder pain and restricted shoulder abduction and flexion, despite a functional deltoid muscle.
This retrospective study, with an average follow-up of 14 years (168 months; σ=73 months), included four patients who underwent a bilateral procedure, one side after the other, with shoulder abduction and flexion gain as primary endpoints.
Mean improvement in range of motion was 36° (σ=32°) in abduction and 40° (σ=44°) in flexion. Postoperatively, active abduction averaged 99° (σ=28°) and active flexion 110° (σ=45°). In one case, a 58 year-old patient, gain in motion was 50° for abduction and 60° for anterior elevation. In one patient, range of motion showed bilateral decrease due to the natural course of the FSHMD. No intraoperative complications were reported.
The Letournel technique seems to be an effective long-term solution in FSHMD, without age limit. Improvements appear to be steady over time, the only long-term limitations being the natural course of the disease itself.
Level of evidence
IV – retrospective case series.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Scapulothoracic fusion, Scapulothoracic arthrodesis, Letournel procedure, Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, Scapular winging