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Arthroscopic Resection of the Distal Aspect of the Clavicle with Concomitant Subacromial Decompression

Martin, Scott David MD; Baumgarten, Thomas E. MD; Andrews, James R. MD

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: March 2001 - Volume 83 - Issue 3 - p 328

Background: Arthroscopic subacromial decompression and arthroscopic resection of the acromioclavicular joint as separate procedures have been well documented. However, there is little information on the success rate of resection with concomitant decompression. In this study, we retrospectively evaluated the results of a consecutive group of patients who underwent arthroscopic resection of the acromioclavicular joint with concomitant subacromial decompression.

Methods: We evaluated the surgical results in thirty-one consecutive patients (thirty-two shoulders) with acromioclavicular pathology with concomitant subacromial impingement. The mean age of the patients at the time of surgery was thirty-six years (range, eighteen to sixty-seven years). Twenty-five patients, including four professional athletes, were actively involved in sports activities. The mean duration of follow-up was four years and ten months (range, three to eight years). The follow-up examination included clinical evaluation, chart review, radiographic analysis, and isokinetic testing of both upper extremities.

Results: Of the twenty-five patients who participated in sports, twenty-two (including the four professional athletes) returned to their previous level of sports activity. Twenty-six patients had no pain, three reported mild pain on strenuous repetitive overhead activity, two (both weight-lifters) had occasional pain in the acromioclavicular joint and the lateral aspect of the shoulder with bench-pressing, and two (both baseball players) had mild pain in the posterior aspect of the shoulder with throwing. All of the patients were satisfied with the results. In the absence of a complete rotator cuff tear, isokinetic strength-testing of both upper extremities failed to demonstrate any weakness of the involved shoulder. The mean functional score for individual activities was 2.7 points (range, 2.1 to 3.0 points) preoperatively and 3.9 points (range, 3.6 to 4.0 points) postoperatively (p = 0.0001).

No patient had superior migration of the clavicle. The amount of distal clavicular resection averaged 9 mm (range, 7 to 15 mm). One patient had heterotopic ossification at the resection site, with mild pain on direct palpation of the acromioclavicular joint and on strenuous overhead activity. Five patients had calcification at the anterior deltoid insertion into the acromion that was asymptomatic, with no impingement on overhead activity and no pain on direct palpation.

Conclusions: We found excellent results with arthroscopic resection of the acromioclavicular joint and concomitant subacromial decompression. When this procedure is performed on properly selected patients, the results are similar to those of an open approach.

Scott David Martin, MD; Brigham Orthopedic Associates, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail address: sdmartin@bics.

Thomas E. Baumgarten, MD; James R. Andrews, MD; American Sports Medicine Institute, 1313 13th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205

Copyright 2001 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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