Early complications of primary shoulder dislocations

M Pasila, H Jaroma, O Kiviluoto, A Sundholm
Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica 1978, 49 (3): 260-3
A prospective study of the complications of primary shoulder dislocation was carried out for the 3-year period 1973-1976. The clinical examination was made initially in the Casualty Department and the patient was re-examined in the Department of Physical Medicine. In the evaluation special attention was given to the condition of the rotator cuff, the blood vessels and the motor and sensory function of the affected extremity. Sixty-three out of 238 patients (26 per cent) presented with the following complications: 29 lesions of the brachial plexus, 21 of the axillary nerve and 28 ruptures of the rotator cuff tendon. Complications occurred more frequently in the age group over 50 years (P less than 0.001) and in manual labourers compared with office workers (P less than 0.05). If the humerus remained unreduced for more than 12 hours, the frequency of complications increased (P less than 0.01).

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