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Int Orthop. 1993 Dec;17(6):337-41.

The rate of recurrence of traumatic anterior dislocation of the shoulder. A study of 154 cases and a review of the literature.

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Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.


We have reviewed the history of 154 primary, traumatic dislocations of the shoulder in order to determine the risk of recurrence. We found a recurrence rate of 68% in patients under the age of 20, after a follow-up period of 1-9 years (average 4.5 years). There was a highly significant difference (p < 0.0001) in the recurrence rate of patients under, and above, 30 years of age. Twenty per cent of the patients had a concurrent minor fracture at the shoulder with 2 out of 39 of the recurrent cases (5%) and 29 of the 115 non-recurrent cases (25%); this is also a significant difference (p < 0.01). Neither the need for general anaesthesia at primary injury nor the occupation of the patient was a relevant factor in the final outcome of the dislocation. Four nerve injuries were encountered (3%), with no severe sequelae at follow-up. The young patient with no concurrent fracture at the time of the primary shoulder dislocation has a high risk of recurrence.

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