Will Deltoid Implants Work To Improve My Viral-Induced Shoulder Muscle Atrophy?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Over ten years ago I was diagnosed with bilateral viral-induced brachial plexopathy. This resulted in loss of function and the eventual atrophy of my deltoid muscle groups. I have perhaps 50% recovery on my left side and 0% on the right. I have no functional limitations. I did have a fat grafting (24 cc) procedure done last year to the right deltoid area.  The improvement was minimal. 

A: Thank you for your inquiry and sending your pictures. That is certainly a most unusual medical event and the first I have seen such in the shoulder area. While fat grafting is always the first treatment approach it would be difficult to get much of a result with only 24cc of fat injected. Your probably needed at least 50 to 60cc at a minimum. But moving beyond fat grafting the definitive deltoid augmentation procedure is implants. Normally in typical aesthetic shoulder augmentation deltoid implants are placed under the muscle. But whether that would be possible with such deltoid muscle atrophy, particularly on the left side, I can not say just by looking at pictures. But deltoid implants can also be placed on top of the muscle under the fascia as well.

Such deltoid implants would have to be custom designed due to the differences between the two deltoid muscle sizes. This is actually done by making drawings over the shoulder areas and then taking measurements of them. I usually have the patients draw on themselves and take their measurements of length and width of the resultant footprint of the implant shape. We would obviously havhe to account for the differences in the two muscle thicknesses.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana