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Injuries Associated with Traumatic Anterior Glenohumeral Dislocations
C.M. Robinson, BMedSci, FRCSEd1; N. Shur, MBChB1; T. Sharpe, FRACS1; A. Ray, MBChB1; I.R. Murray, BMedSci, MRCSEd1
1 The Edinburgh Shoulder Clinic, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 4SU, United Kingdom. E-mail address for C.M. Robinson: c.mike.robinson@ed.ac.uk
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Investigation performed at The Edinburgh Shoulder Clinic, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Edinburgh, United Kingdom



Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Jan 04;94(1):18-26. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.J.01795
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Abstract

Background: 

A number of shoulder girdle injuries are associated with acute anterior glenohumeral dislocations. In the present study we evaluated the prevalence of neurological deficits, greater tuberosity fractures, and rotator cuff injuries in a population of unselected patients who presented with a traumatic anterior glenohumeral dislocation.

Methods: 

A prospective trauma database was used to record the demographic details on 3633 consecutive patients (2250 male patients and 1383 female patients with a mean age of 47.6 years) who had sustained a traumatic anterior glenohumeral dislocation between 1995 and 2009. On the basis of these data, we assessed the prevalence of and risk factors for ultrasound-proven rotator cuff tears, tuberosity fractures, and neurological deficits occurring in association with the dislocation.

Results: 

Of the 3633 patients who had a dislocation, 492 patients (13.5%) had a neurological deficit following reduction and 1215 patients (33.4%) had either a rotator cuff tear or a greater tuberosity fracture. A dislocation with a neurological deficit alone was found in 210 patients (5.8%), a dislocation with a rotator cuff tear or a greater tuberosity fracture was found in 933 patients (25.7%), and a combined injury pattern was found in 282 patients (7.8%). Female patients with an age of sixty years or older who were injured in low-energy falls were more likely to have a rotator cuff tear or a greater tuberosity fracture. The likelihood of a neurological deficit after an anterior glenohumeral dislocation was significantly increased for patients who had a rotator cuff tear or a greater tuberosity fracture (relative risk, 1.9 [95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 2.1]; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: 

The prevalence of rotator cuff tear, greater tuberosity fracture, or neurological deficit following primary anterior glenohumeral dislocation is greater than previously appreciated. These associated injuries may occur alone or in combined patterns. Dislocations associated with axillary nerve palsy have similar demographic features to isolated dislocations. Injuries associated with a rotator cuff tear, greater tuberosity fracture, or complex neurological deficit are more common in patients sixty years of age or older. Careful evaluation of rotator cuff function is required for any patient with a dislocation associated with a neurological deficit, and vice versa.

Level of Evidence: 

Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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