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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 Oct;22(10):1433-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2013.01.004. Epub 2013 Mar 17.

Acromioclavicular joint ligamentous system contributing to clavicular strut function: a cadaveric study.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. Electronic address: satoshiohki@gmail.com.



We hypothesized that the clavicle overrides the acromion during certain shoulder motions for individuals with acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation producing clinical symptoms. We measured 3-dimensional clavicular and scapular motions in AC joint separation models during humerothoracic motions, which should be impacted by the loss of AC joint continuity.


Ten shoulders from 6 whole cadavers were used. The scapular and clavicular motions were measured in intact and AC joint separation models using an electromagnetic tracking device. The measurement was performed during shoulder abduction with humerothoracic neutral rotation. It was also measured during shoulder abduction with humerothoracic internal rotation, which could cause clavicular overriding. The kinematic changes caused by ligament sectioning were evaluated in these 2 arm motions.


The clavicle completely overrode the acromion in all AC separation models during abduction with internal rotation, but not in any shoulders during abduction with neutral rotation. Upward clavicular rotation increased, posterior clavicular rotation decreased, and external scapular rotation decreased with ligament sectioning. These kinematic changes were common for both of the measured arm motions. Scapular upward rotation and posterior tilt did not change because of ligament sectioning during abduction with neutral rotation. However, these scapular rotations significantly decreased with ligament sectioning during shoulder abduction with internal rotation.


Scapular and clavicular kinematics were affected in AC separation models. Abduction with humeral internal rotation resulted in a decrease in scapular posterior tilt and upward rotation in AC separation models, and thereby could lead to AC joint articulation dysfunction.

Copyright © 2013 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


Acromioclavicular joint; Basic Science Study; Cadaver Model; Kinematics; biomechanics; cadaver study; coracoclavicular ligament; dislocation

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