Why would I need AC joint reconstruction?
The orthopedic shoulder surgeons at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho measure AC joint injuries based on grades. Grade 1, 2, and 3 acromioclavicular injuries will cause pain and deformity. These AC separations are commonly caused by a sprain or the stretching of the ligaments. Grades 4 through grade 6 AC injuries typically mean the ligaments have been stretched or torn to a larger degree, and an AC joint reconstruction procedure will be needed to alleviate chronic shoulder pain and weakness.
AC Joint Reconstruction is often indicated for severe AC joint separations that cause instability, muscle fatigue of the deltoid and trapezius, scapular instability, and painful popping or arthritis due to the injury. The most common surgical options offered to patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley include anatomic coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction. The goal of AC joint reconstruction is to realign the CC ligaments to their native anatomic locations so that they may heal correctly and by re-enforcing their strength with additional ligament and tendon tissue.
How is AC Joint reconstruction done?
AC joint reconstruction for recurrent shoulder separations involves reconstruction using a tendon graft (called an allograft) with mechanical fixation to further secure the new tissue in the anatomical location of the torn ligaments. The orthopedic shoulder specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho perform AC joint reconstruction in a minimally invasive manner on an out-patient basis. The goal of the shoulder surgery is to re-suspend the arm back to the collarbone in its normal anatomical position by using strong sutures and new ligaments securely attached to the front of the shoulder blade and to the collarbone. Reconstruction of the CC ligaments, using a donated graft, requires placing this new tissue in a looped fashion from the front of the shoulder blade to the top of the collarbone. The graft is protected during the healing process by using strong medical suture material secured through screws to add strength to the reconstruction.
What is the recovery time following AC joint reconstruction?
Patients are asked to wear a sling for several weeks to protect the healing AC joint. Full range of motion and strength is re-established with the help of special exercises. After the ligaments have healed, patients will be allowed to use strengthening exercises and be able to discard the arm sling. Patients are allowed to return to sporting activities and unrestricted work following successful healing of their shoulder surgery.
If you have experienced a shoulder separation or would like more information on AC joint reconstruction please contact the orthopedic shoulder surgeons at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.