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.