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Deltoid contracture: A study of nineteen cases

Keywords: Deltoid contracture , surgical release of deltoid contracture , eitopathogenesis of deltoid contracture

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Abstract:

Objective: Deltoid contracture is not uncommon in India. Contractures of deltoid often do not have definite etiology. We have critically analyzed the condition as regards the etiopathogenesis and its surgical results. Materials and Methods: Nineteen patients with deltoid contracture operated between June 1990 and September 2001 were enrolled for a unicentric retrospective study. The surgery was indicated in patients with abduction deformity of more than 30° at the shoulder. The etiology of deltoid contracture was idiopathic ( n = 13) intramuscular injection in deltoid muscle ( n = 5) and blunt trauma ( n = 1). All were operated by distal release (incision near the insertion of the deltoid muscle). The average follow-up was of 9.5 years (range 6-17 years). They were evaluated based on parameters like pain, persistence of deformity, range of shoulder movements and strength of deltoid. Results: All patients recovered painless full range of shoulder motion except one. The correction of deformity was achieved in all patients and there was no loss of strength of deltoid compared to the opposite side. Histology of excised tissue showed features of chronic inflammation. The complications observed were hypertrophic scar ( n = 1), painful terminal restriction of shoulder movements ( n = 1) and prominent vertebral border of scapula ( n = 1). Conclusion: Deltoid contracture has features of chronic inflammation, and the intramuscular deltoid injection is the most incriminating factor in its etiopathogenesis. The condition can be effectively managed surgically by distal release of the deltoid muscle combined with excision of the muscular fibrotic contracture band.

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