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Emerg Med J. 2007 November; 24(11): 799.
PMCID: PMC2658338

Rupture of pectoralis major: an occupational injury

A 41‐year‐old doorman attended the emergency department with a history of sudden pain and a popping sensation to the anterior aspect of his right shoulder on restraining a person in the course of his work the previous evening. He had swelling and bruising as shown in fig 11.. He was diagnosed with a distal rupture of his right pectoralis major muscle (PM). He subsequently underwent surgical exploration and repair.

figure em40378.f1
Figure 1 Presentation of patient showing swelling and bruising. Informed consent was obtained for publication of this figure.

The condition is primarily diagnosed clinically but magnetic resonance imaging is widely accepted as the modality of choice in evaluating possible tears of PM.

Non‐surgical management is recommended only for proximal tears and for elderly, sedentary patients. Otherwise, surgery is advocated to enable return to full strength and function. Rehabilitation involves a gradual progression to the increase range of movement and muscle strength, and patients can usually return to full activity in 3–6 months.1


Competing interests: none

Informed consent was obtained for publication of fig 11.


1. Petilon J, Carr D, Sekiya J. et al Pectoralis major muscle injuries: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2005. 1359–68.68 [PubMed]

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