Journal Article
Systematic Review
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Management of the floating shoulder: Does the glenopolar angle influence outcomes? A systematic review.

INTRODUCTION: Currently there is no consensus on the optimal treatment of the "floating shoulder". We aim to perform a systematic review to determine outcomes in the management of this condition.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Studies related to the management of the "floating shoulder" were identified by a review of medline using platform Pubmed/Ovid, Scopus and Cochrane library data bases. Studies were included if they: (1) are published in the English language and (2) reported outcomes of at least 2 or more cases of floating shoulder injuries using at least one objective shoulder scoring system. Exclusion criteria were (1) non-human and biomechanical studies and (2) studies with a clear selection bias. Three treatment groups were identified. Group 1-non-operative, Group 2-fixation of clavicle only, and Group 3-fixation of clavicle and scapula neck.

RESULTS: Thirteen studies gave a population of 244 subjects of which 104 had non-operative treatment, 98 had internal fixation of the clavicle only and 42 had fixation of both the clavicle and the scapula. There were no differences in the outcome scores among the 3 treatment arms as the patients with undisplaced or minimally displaced fractures had conservative treatment and those with displaced fractures were surgically stabilised. There was a positive correlation between the final glenopolar angle and the Constant score.

CONCLUSIONS: The review was unable to show a difference in outcomes among the 3 treatment groups. Any treatment modality that restores the glenopolar angle is likely to result in a good outcome.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic level IV.

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