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Quadrangular Space Syndrome Specialist

Anthony Echo, MD -  - Plastic Surgeon

Anthony Echo, MD

Plastic Surgeon & Reconstructive Surgeon located in Houston, TX

Though rare, if you engage in activities that require repeated overhead activity such as volleyball or basketball, you may develop quadrangular space syndrome. This condition causes shoulder pain and affects mobility due to compression of a nerve or blood vessel in your shoulder. Experienced plastic surgeon and fellowship-trained peripheral nerve surgeon, Anthony Echo, MD, specializes in the surgical treatment of quadrangular space syndrome. To schedule a consultation, call his office at the Houston Methodist Hospital or the office in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Houston, Texas, or book online today.

Quadrangular Space Syndrome Q&A

What is quadrangular space syndrome?

Quadrangular space syndrome is a type of neuropathy that involves compression of your axillary nerve, which is one of the major peripheral nerves in your upper body, or the posterior circumflex humeral artery, which supplies blood to your shoulder and upper arm. 

You may develop the syndrome after trauma or an injury. However, the compression most often occurs from fibrous bands within the quadrangular space, scar tissue, or muscle growth in the shoulder.

Athletes that engage in repetitive overhead arm movements are at risk of developing quadrangular space syndrome. This includes athletes who play golf, volleyball, and basketball, as well as baseball pitchers and swimmers. 

What are quadrangular space syndrome symptoms?

Quadrangular space syndrome symptoms vary and may resemble other shoulder injuries. Common symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Pain in the posterior (back) shoulder
  • Burning or tingling sensation that travels to the hand

Because quadrangular space syndrome may compress your posterior circumflex artery, you may also develop vascular symptoms such as a weakened pulse, blood clot, or cold hands. 

How is quadrangular space syndrome diagnosed?

Quadrangular space syndrome is difficult to diagnose, especially in athletes, because the symptoms are similar to many other shoulder injuries. In many cases, a diagnosis of the syndrome occurs after ruling out other potential causes.

When you visit Dr. Echo with complaints of shoulder pain or weakness, he conducts a comprehensive clinical evaluation to ensure you get the most accurate diagnosis. A complete workup by your orthopedic surgeon is recommended to rule out a rotator cuff injury or another orthopedic issue. 

During your exam, he reviews your symptoms, and when they started. He also closely evaluates the structure and function of your arm and shoulder. 

Dr. Echo also may request diagnostic testing, such as an electromyography (EMG) or an MRI. 

He may determine you have quadrangular space syndrome if you have pain in the posterior of your shoulder. 

How is quadrangular space syndrome treated?

Treatment for quadrangular space syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms and compression. Initially, Dr. Echo may recommend a conservative approach that includes physical therapy and activity modification. 

If conservative measures fail to alleviate your symptoms or improve your compression, Dr. Echo recommends surgical intervention. He makes an incision in the posterior of your shoulder to release the axillary nerve and alleviate your symptoms.

To learn more about your treatment options for quadrangular space syndrome, call Anthony Echo, MD, or request an appointment online today.