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Acromioclavicular Joint Dislocation

What is an Acromioclavicular joint dislocation?

This is the traumatic separation of the two bones at the top of your shoulder

What is the Acromioclavicular Joint (ACJ)?

This Acromioclavicular joint is the articulation between the end of the collar bone (clavicle) and the top part of shoulder blade (acromion). They are joined by a joint capsule but also two strong ligaments to prevent the two bones from separating or dislocating.

What causes a dislocation?

This almost always results from trauma. It occurs most commonly in sports such as rugby, horse riding and martial arts.

What treatment is necessary?

In the majority of dislocations, rest, ice and later physiotherapy is all that is required. For some patients, the pain and discomfort can take many weeks to settle down. In a small group of patients who have more severe dislocations or for those whose symptoms fail to settle after three to six months of conservative management, then surgery is considered.

What is the surgical treatment?

There are over one hundred different techniques described to repair or reconstruct the AC joint. These can be performed open through a skin incision or through smaller keyhole incisions.

The LARS ligament reconstruction uses an open skin incision (strap incision) to insert a strong synthetic ligament needed to reconstruct the dislocated joint. This is positioned to recreate the stabilising actions of the torn ligaments.

What is the rehabilitation after surgery?

A period of immobilisation in a sling is required for four to six weeks to allow the soft tissues and muscles to heal. Driving can be commenced at the six week mark and a return to contact sports is considered twelve weeks after surgery.


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