Shoulder Separation (AC Dislocation)
Acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) dislocation or shoulder separation is one of the most common injuries of the upper arm. It involves the separation of the AC joint and injury to the ligaments that support the joint. The AC joint forms where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the shoulder blade (acromion).
It commonly occurs in young athletes and can result from a fall on the shoulder. A mild shoulder separation can occur when there is an AC ligament sprain that does not displace the collarbone. In more serious injuries, the AC ligament tears and the coracoclavicular (CC) ligament sprains or tears slightly causing misalignment in the collarbone. In the most severe shoulder separation injury, both the AC and CC ligaments get torn and the AC joint moves completely out of its position.
Symptoms of a separated shoulder may include shoulder pain, bruising, swelling and limited shoulder movement.
The diagnosis of shoulder separation is made through your medical history, a physical exam and an X-ray.
Conservative treatment options
Conservative treatment options include rest, cold packs, medications and physical therapy.
Surgery may be an option if pain persists or if you have a severe separation.
Of late, research has been focused on improving surgical techniques used to reconstruct the severely separated AC joint. The novel reconstruction technique that has been designed to reconstruct the AC joint in an anatomic manner is known as anatomic reconstruction. Anatomic reconstruction of the AC joint ensures static and safe fixation and stable joint functions. Nevertheless, a functional reconstruction is attempted through reconstruction of the ligaments. This technique is done through an arthroscopically-assisted procedure. A small open incision will be made to place the graft.
This surgery involves replacement of the torn CC ligaments by utilising allograft tissue. The graft tissue is placed at the precise location where the ligaments have torn and fixed using bio-compatible screws. The new ligaments gradually heal and help restore the normal anatomy of the shoulder.
Postoperative rehabilitation includes the use of a shoulder sling for 6 weeks, followed by physical therapy exercises for 3 months. This helps restore movements and improve strength. You may return to sports only after 5-6 months of surgery.
- Shoulder Pain
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Shoulder Impingement
- SLAP Tears
- Shoulder Joint Arthritis
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Instability
- Shoulder Separation
- Shoulder Labral Tear
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Distal Biceps Rupture
- AC Joint Injuries
- Shoulder Trauma
- Clavicle Fracture
- Fractures of the Shoulder Blade
- Broken Arm
- Forearm Fractures in Children
- Elbow Fractures in Children
- Olecranon Fractures
- Radial Head Fractures
- Distal Humerus Fractures of Elbow
- Shoulder Injuries in Throwing Athletes