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Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Aug;15(8):703-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00164.x.

Intraarticular lidocaine versus intravenous procedural sedation with narcotics and benzodiazepines for reduction of the dislocated shoulder: a systematic review.

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Vanderbilt Sports Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA.



Anterior shoulder dislocations commonly present to the emergency department (ED). The time associated with procedural sedation for the reduction of anterior shoulder dislocations can be lengthy and may require use of additional personnel. Complications associated with intravenous (IV) medications for procedural sedation are well documented.


The aim was to determine if intraarticular lidocaine (IAL) injection is as effective as IV procedural sedation with narcotics and benzodiazepines for reduction of anterior shoulder dislocations.


This was a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The authors performed a PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane database search using key words: "shoulder dislocation" and "reduction" and retrieved every RCT published that compared the use of IV sedation to IAL as medication for reduction. Each manuscript was reviewed and the results of each was compared regarding medications used, success of reduction, complications, pain perceived, ease of reduction, and time spent in the ED.


Six Level 1 RCTs were identified. No studies showed a statistically significant difference in success rate between IAL versus IV sedation. The complication rate was significantly higher in the IV sedation groups (p < 0.001), and the total time spent in the ED was longer for the IV sedation group.


The use of IAL for reduction of anterior shoulder dislocations should be strongly considered as a first line therapy because it is effective and safe and may potentially reduce time spent in the ED.

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