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Patient Education >> Shoulder Conditions >>AC Joint Dislocation


 

   

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WHAT IS ACROMIO CLAVICULAR JOINT DISLOCATION?



The acromio clavicular joint can dislocate just like a shoulder. The clavicle is held in position by two ligaments known as the coracoclavicular ligaments, which are attached to a prominence from the scapula known as the coracoid. Damage can occur to these ligaments with an injury like falling onto an outstretched hand. In simple dislocations there is only a sprain and the clavicle does not move too much out of place. If both the ligaments holding it in position are completely ruptured then the clavicle moves upwards and backwards.


WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF ACROMIO CLAVICULAR JOINT DISLOCATION?



The main cause of acromio clavicular joint dislocation is an injury. This could be a fall on the point of the shoulder, a tackle or fall onto an outstretched hand.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

 

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The appearance of a prominent bump can be unsightly. Pain, particularly with movement of the shoulder and clicking is common. If the clavicle has been dislocated backwards into the muscle or is tucked underneath the acromion this could be very painful.    


HOW IS THIS DIAGNOSED?



The diagnosis is made by history and examination. A plain x ray confirms the dislocation.  

  

Computer generated dislocation (X-Ray)

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WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

 

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Most acromio clavicular joint dislocations settle down once the acute stage is over. During this phase painkillers and rest are beneficial. Following this physiotherapy is often necessary to get the shoulder back to its original state. If conservative methods fail and the joint is very symptomatic surgery is indicated.


Surgery involves an incision being made over the front and the top of the acromio clavicular joint. The end of the clavicle is exposed and a half centimeter of bone is removed. The collar bone is then reduced into position and held in place. We use an artificial ligament known as the surgilig for this. This ligament is passed around the coracoid and then around the collar bone. It is held in position by one screw