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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2006 Sep;88(5):454-8.

Survey of the management of acute traumatic first-time anterior shoulder dislocation among trauma clinicians in the UK.

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The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK.



The aim of this work was to survey how acute traumatic first-time anterior shoulder dislocation (AFSD) is managed among trauma clinicians in UK using a postal questionnaire.


A total of 150 questionnaires were sent out to active consultant members of the British Trauma Society in the UK. Questions were laid out in two 'workgroups'. In Workgroup One, an assortment of questions was included regarding choices and methods of analgesia, methods of monitoring used, methods of reduction, and position of immobilisation. In Workgroup Two, three different case scenarios were analysed to look into the 'post-reduction' management.


The response rate was 60%. Of respondents, 22% have a local protocol for managing AFSD. Almost all respondents recommended pre- and post-reduction X-rays as standard practice. Most respondents favoured systemic analgesia and sedation with airways' monitoring, as opposed to intra-articular anaesthesia (68 versus 9). Eighty-four respondents advocated immobilisation in internal rotation compared to six in external rotation. Only 19% (16 of 84) of respondents would perform an immediate arthroscopic stabilisation in young, fit patients presenting with this type of injury.


This survey revealed variations among trauma clinicians in managing AFSD on the 'front-line'. There is a need to address the issue of intra-articular analgesia, immobilisation technique and management of AFSD in the young patient with regards to immediate surgical intervention. We suggest that these issues be revised and clarified, ideally in a randomised, controlled, clinical trial prior to the introduction of a protocol for managing this problem.

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