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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Joint surgery

Question: Shoulder separation grade 3, what can be done?

 kek19 - Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:15 pm

My husband (29 years old) separated his shoulder this weekend. ER doc said it was grade 3, all ligments torn, gave him a sling and sent him home saying to his knowledge, nothing can be done. Besides the obvious pain, my husband is really concerned about the golf-ball size lump and what permanent limitations he will have. He's always been active, skiing, rock climbing, scuba diving, weight lifting, also has been a contractor for years lifting heavy object above his head, hammering, etc. His two biggest concerns about the bone sticking up is, well cosmetic, and also being able to wear his scuba gear (the straps cross right over that spot, and it's really heavy)

Can anything be done about this? Are there special braces that can be worn to help push the bone down while healing? Is there surgery? I've found a few references on the internet stating that surgery doesn't help, and doesn't get rid of the bump, but also some that say there are surgeries to wire the bones back together.

Our biggest road bump is that we don't have insurance for another 2-3wks. Should we try and see an ortho doctor now out of pocket, or is this an injury that can wait until we have insurance?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:50 am

User avatar Hi there -

You husband's shoulder situation was sufficiently complex that I referred your question to the Orthopedic Team here at The Doctors Lounge, and here is the answer I got, which confirms my initial thoughts on it:

Dr Ashok Shyam wrote:dear kek19
shoulder separation is disruption if the acromioclavicular joint of the shoulder which helps in weight transmission. The management of type III AC dislocation is still controversial, although the majority of current reports support nonoperative treatment. Looking at the age of your husband and the type of lifestyle he is involved in a surgical repair will be more suitable for him. As far as the timing of the surgery is concerned, there are various factors involved and a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon will help in answering that for you. So consult an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible and hopefully all will be well.

Thanks to Dr. Shyam for taking this question and to kek19, I hope this is helpful to your husband and to you. Please keep us updated.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:42 pm

User avatar I might add that functional outcomes at one year are the same for both operative and non operative treatment. Restoration of function may come quicker with surgery but carries more risk. Conservative treatment can be done for up to 3 months and still be able to do surgery at that time if no improvement.

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