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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 Jun;22(6):760-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2012.08.016. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Prevalence and pattern of glenohumeral injuries among acute high-grade acromioclavicular joint instabilities.

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Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charité-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



With increasing numbers of arthroscopically assisted acromioclavicular (AC) joint stabilization procedures has come an increase in reports of concomitant glenohumeral injuries among AC joint separations. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence, pattern, and cause of glenohumeral pathologies among a large patient population with acute high-grade AC joint instability.


A total of 125 patients (13 women, 112 men) with high-grade AC joint dislocation (6 Rockwood II; 119 Rockwood V) underwent diagnostic glenohumeral arthroscopy before AC joint repair. Pathologic lesions were evaluated for acute or degenerative origin and, if considered relevant, treated all-arthroscopically.


Concomitant glenohumeral pathologies were found in 38 of 125 patients (30.4%). Analysis of pathogenesis distinguished different patterns of accompanying injuries: acute intra-articular lesions, related to the recent shoulder trauma, were found in 9 patients (7.2%), degenerative lesions, considered to be unrelated to the recent trauma, were found in 18 (14.4%), and 11 (8.8%) had an unclear traumatic correlation (intermediate group). Within the acute and the degenerative group, affected structures were predominantly partial, articular-sided tears of the anterosuperior rotator cuff, including instabilities of the pulley complex, followed by pathologies of the long head of the biceps and superior labrum anteroposterior lesions. The intermediate group presented mainly with articular-sided partial tears of the subscapularis tendon.


This prospective study showed a high prevalence (30%) of concomitant glenohumeral pathologies, of which some indicate additional surgical therapy and could be missed by an isolated open AC repair. Hence, the arthroscopic approach for AC joint stabilization allows for the diagnosis and treatment of associated intra-articular pathologies.

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