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AC Joint Dislocation Surgery Less Effective Than Physical Therapy


For dislocated acromio-clavicular (AC) joints, surgery might not be the best treatment option as a new study has found physical therapy to not only be more effective, but capable of treating the dislocated AC joint without inflicting further complications.

The researchers behind the study, which was published in the journal Orthopaedic Trauma, treated 83 patients suffering from dislocated shoulders. In the randomized clinical trial, the researchers treated half of the patients with a combination of surgery and rehabilitation while they treated the other half with no more than an arm-sling and non-surgical treatment.

Three months after treatment commenced, those who wore a sling and received physical therapy saw increased shoulder mobility in comparison to their surgically treated counterparts. Seventy-five percent of them returned to their normal routines.

On the other side of the fence, those who underwent surgery — which entails the use of plates and screws to connect joints — suffered from major complications including loose plates and infections. Seven of whom also experienced reductions in sensation.

Forty-three percent of those who underwent surgery to correct their joint issues returned to work.

Two non-surgically treated patients saw major complications, which Tech Times reports to have been mostly the result of spills taken during the recovery period.

Beyond the practical notions, there were those who complained about the appearance of their rehabilitated shoulders amongst the group of patients who were treated with a sling and therapy.

With that in mind, one advantage to surgery is the symmetrically appearing alignment of the shoulder following surgery — a notion which some patients are sure to consider.

Which would you prefer, an aesthetically comforting appearance or increased mobility and reduced risk of major complication?

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