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Int Orthop. 2007 Jun;31(3):385-9. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Has the management of shoulder dislocation changed over time?

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First Orthopaedic Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, G.Papanikolaou Hospital, Exohi, 57010 Thessaloniki, Greece.


Anterior shoulder dislocation is a disabling injury affecting all ages, young and old alike. Recently, the treatment of traumatic shoulder dislocation has included immobilisation for varying periods of time followed by physiotherapy. This study is the first in this country to address the demographic data and recurrence rates of shoulder dislocation. Three hundred and eight patients (170 men and 138 women) were followed up for an average of 5.9 years. The most frequent mechanism of injury was a fall (65.66% of cases), and in 92.1% of the patients, the shoulder was reduced in the Emergency Department without the need for sedation or general anaesthesia. The overall recurrence rate in all ages was 50%, but rose to 88.9% in the 14-20-year age group. The duration of immobilisation did not affect the rate of re-dislocation of the humeral head. We believe that conventional shoulder immobilisation in a sling offers no benefits, and it would be preferable not to immobilise the shoulder at all.

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