Medical Specialty >> Surgery

Doctors Lounge - Surgery Answers

Back to Surgery Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 8/19/2017.

Forum Name: Surgery Topics

Question: Anterior Deltoid missing after surgery on humerus

 jordanmm - Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:36 am

I am an 18 year old male. I broke my humerus 2 years ago, looking at the xrays the break was pretty bad. After seeing them the doctor decided to put a cast on my arm only a little past my elbow, not even coming close to where the actually break was (more towards my shoulder). He gave me a sling and insisted that the weight of the cast would bring my bone into place.

Well 2 weeks went by and i went in to get another xray, my arm was still in horrible condition. My doctor seemed a little anxious and nervous and quickly got me into surgery.

The surgery went fine and my bone healed but i seem to be missing my anterior deltoid now. It wasn't very noticeable at first but now i am beginning to work out and its starting to look funny. My doctor said nothing about it, no warnings or anything afterwards, and I am and 100% sure i do not have an anterior deltoid

Is this normal for surgery's near the shoulder, or is my surgeon/doctor at fault?

Is there anything i can do?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:55 pm

User avatar Hi Jordanmm,

This would be a bit unusual. During a repair of a broken humerus the deltoid muscle is not removed unless there was some sort of damage necessitating the removal of the muscle. What may have happened is that the nerve may have been damaged, resulting in wasting away of the muscle (either from the surgery or from the initial accident).

If you are missing your deltoid it should be very difficult to raise your arm above your head in an arcing motion (like doing jumping jacks). There are other muscles that will get the arm up some but it would be very difficult to raise all the way without some deltoid help.

I would recommend that you follow up with your orthopedic surgeon about this to have it evaluated and see if there is anything that needs to be done.

Best wishes.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us