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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2003 May-Jun;12(3):276-81.

Balser plate stabilization: an alternate therapy for traumatic sternoclavicular instability.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Trauma Surgery Division, Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Krankenhausstrasse 12, D-91054, Erlangen, Germany.


Traumatic instability of the sternoclavicular joint is a rare condition. It can be treated by surgical cerclage fixation, which necessitates postoperative immobilization, an approach preventing early postoperative functional rehabilitation. Balser plate stabilization is a therapeutic alternative that does not require extended periods of immobilization. From January 1, 1996, to December 31, 2000, a total of 10 trauma patients with unstable sternoclavicular joints (Allman grade III) requiring surgical management were treated with Balser plate stabilization to allow early physiotherapy. The population included 7 patients with anterior dislocations, 2 with posterior dislocations, and 1 with medial epiphysiolysis in addition to posterior dislocation. Implants were removed from 9 patients after 3 months and 1 patient after 2 months. One year or longer after the procedure, 9 of 10 patients were available for follow-up; 1 patient had moved. The results achieved with this alternative treatment are excellent. There were no cases of redislocation. The only surgical complication was a seroma that required surgical drainage. One patient had arthrosis develop. Outcome was assessed with Constant (range, 84-100; mean, 90.2 +/- 6.6) and DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand) (range, 4.1-16.6; mean, 8.4 +/- 1.4) scores. For the rare case of sternoclavicular joint dislocation requiring open surgical reduction and stabilization, the Balser plate technique is reliable, permits early movement, has good postoperative results, and compares favorably with alternative methods.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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