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Arthroscopy. 2006 May;22(5):516-20.

Arthroscopic distal clavicle resection: a comparison of bursal and direct approaches.

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Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine, Columbia University, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



To test the hypothesis that the direct (superior) approach to arthroscopic distal clavicle resection is as safe and effective as the bursal (subacromial) approach.


All patients who had an arthroscopic distal clavicle resection in our institution between 1994 and 2002 were reviewed. Patients with a history of acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) instability, previous shoulder surgery, glenohumeral pathology, full-thickness rotator cuff tear, or other significant orthopaedic comorbidity were excluded. Outcome data were collected including the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score as well as subjective ratings of pain and instability.


Follow-up was completed on 66 shoulders of 60 patients. Twenty-four shoulders had a bursal approach (group I) and 42 had a direct approach (group II). There were 45 men and 15 women with an average age of 46 years (range, 21 to 78 years). Follow-up averaged 6.0 years (range, 2 to 11.5 years). The average ASES score was 90 (range, 53-100) in group I and 94 (range, 55-100) in group II. Four patients (10%) in group II required reoperation: 2 patients required ACJ stabilization at 6 and 9 months postoperatively because of anteroposterior instability, and 2 patients required resection again at 5 years because of recurrent symptoms.


Both the direct and bursal approaches lead to satisfactory outcomes in the majority of patients with ACJ arthrosis. However, the direct approach to the ACJ may damage the superior capsular ligaments, potentially leading to distal clavicle instability. Care should be taken when performing the direct ACJ resection to avoid disrupting the capsular restraints.


Level IV therapeutic case series.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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