Arthroscopic resection of the distal clavicle with a superior approach

E L Flatow, X A Duralde, G P Nicholson, R G Pollock, L U Bigliani
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 1995, 4 (1 Pt 1): 41-50
Forty-one patients (41 shoulders) with acromioclavicular joint disease refractory to conservative treatment underwent arthroscopic distal clavicle resection. Thirty-one men and 10 women with an average age of 32 years were studied. The dominant extremity was involved in 68% of the patients. At an average follow-up period of 31 months (range 24 to 49 months), 18 excellent, 16 good, and seven poor results were found. Twenty-seven (93%) of 29 shoulders with acromioclavicular arthritis or osteolysis of the distal clavicle went on to have satisfactory results compared with only seven (58%) of 12 shoulders with previous grade II acromioclavicular separations or acromioclavicular hypermobility. Total amount of bone removal did not correlate with success, if the resection was even. Five reoperations were done; one uneven resection was revised with arthroscopy, and four shoulders underwent acromioclavicular stabilization procedures. The high failure rate in patients with even subtle acromioclavicular instability (42%) suggests that in these cases formal stabilization with ligament reconstruction should be considered in addition to resection of the distal clavicle.

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