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Healing a shoulder separation
Date:4/1/2009

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Nonsurgical options which help treat the injury and manage pain for minor sprains (clinically called type I and II AC joint injuries) of the shoulder ligaments include:

  • slings
  • cold packs
  • over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications

Sometimes, other types of supports may be used to help lessen AC joint motion and reduce pain. Surgery is almost always recommended for major or high level injuries (also called type IV, V, and VI injuries), as well as less serious injuries that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment. Both surgical and nonsurgical types of treatment must include rehabilitation to restore and rebuild the patient's motion, strength, and flexibility.

The treatment of the mid level injuries (type III) remains controversial, with nonsurgical treatment favored in most instances and surgical reconstruction of the acromioclavicular joint reserved for cases in which the joint demonstrates persistent instability.

"Nearly 50 years after the initial papers describing type III acromioclavicular joint injuries, there is still a lack of consensus on the best treatment for them," Simovitch says. "So far, most studies do not show a significant difference in outcomes between nonsurgically and surgically treated patients with this type of injury. Also, while most orthopaedic surgeons agree that type IV and higher injuries should be treated surgically, we haven't reached a consensus on which surgical technique is best. Over the years, however, arthroscopic and open treatment options for AC joint reconstruction have made significant advances."

Although the issue has not been fully researched, the study authors suggest that certain patients with Type III injuries, such as heavy laborers and athletes who perform frequent overhead motions, might benefit more from surgical reconstruction.


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Contact: Lauren Pearson
lpearson@aaos.org
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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