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Chronic Recurrent Anterior Sternoclavicular Joint Instability: Results of Surgical Management

Bae, Donald S MD; Kocher, Mininder S MD, MPH; Waters, Peter M MD; Micheli, Lyle M MD; Griffey, Michael MD; Dichtel, Laura BA

doi: 10.1097/01.bpo.0000187998.91837.b2
Original Article

Chronic anterior sternoclavicular joint (SCJ) instability may cause pain and persistent functional limitation in active patients. Although SCJ reconstruction and medial clavicular resection have been advocated in these situations, the results of surgical treatment are not well characterized. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the functional outcome of surgical treatment in adolescent and young adult patients with chronic recurrent anterior SCJ instability. Fifteen patients with chronic recurrent anterior SCJ instability refractory to nonoperative therapy who underwent joint reconstruction or medial clavicular resection were evaluated for pain and function using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Standard Shoulder Assessment Form and the Simple Shoulder Test (SST). At average follow-up of 55 months, the mean ASES score was 85 and the mean SST score was 10.9. Sixty percent of patients reported stable, pain-free joints, although 87% (n = 13) reported some limitations of athletic or recreational activity. There were no surgical complications, and no patient underwent subsequent revision procedures. Although subsequent activity modification is often required, surgical treatment of chronic anterior SCJ instability in adolescents and young adults can provide near-complete pain relief and return of shoulder and upper extremity function.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.

Study conducted at Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.

None of the authors received financial support for this study.

Reprints: Donald S. Bae, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 300 Longwood Avenue, Hunnewell 2, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.