Management of the first episode of traumatic shoulder dislocation.
Shoulder joint dislocation is the most common joint dislocation seen in the emergency department.Traumatic dislocation may cause damage to the soft-tissues surrounding the shoulder joint and sometimes to the bone. The treatment, which aims at restoration of a fully functioning, pain-free and stable shoulder, includes either conservative or surgical management preceded by closed reduction of the acute dislocation.Conservative management usually requires a period of rest, generally involving immobilisation of the arm in a sling, even though it is still debated whether to immobilise the shoulder in internal or external rotation.Operative management, with no significant differences in term of re-dislocation rates between open and arthroscopic repair, incorporates soft-tissue reconstructions and/or bony procedures and is recommended in young male adults engaged in highly demanding physical activities.At our institution, non-operative management is favoured particularly for patients with multi-directional instability or soft-tissue laxity. Conservative measures are often preferred in older patients or younger patients that are not actively engaged in overhead activities. Immediate surgery on all first-time dislocations may subject many patients to surgery who would not have had any future subluxation.For these reasons, initially we will always try physical therapy and activity modification for the vast majority of our patients. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2017;2:35-40.DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.2.160018.
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