Arthroscopic Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint

Dr. Darren Keiser Explains Arthroscopic Acromioclavicular AC Joint Separation Repair

Description of Surgery

Arthroscopic AC Joint Repair

Arthroscopic Acromioclavicular Joint Separation Repair is a surgical procedure used to repair a severe separation of the AC joint in the shoulder. In this procedure, torn or ruptured ligaments are brought together and a surgical screw or heavy suture is inserted through the clavicle and into a part of the scapula to hold the joint in place during healing.

Causes for a Separation

Arthroscopic Acromioclavicular Joint Repair

Arthroscopic Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Separation RepairThe most common cause for a separation of the AC joint is from a fall directly onto the shoulder. The fall injures the ligaments that surround and stabilize the AC joint.

If the force is severe enough, the ligaments attaching to the underside of the clavicle are torn. This causes the separation of the collarbone and the shoulder blade. The shoulder blade (scapula) actually moves downward from the weight of the arm. This creates a bump or bulge above the shoulder.

The injury can range from a mild sprain without a bump to a complete disruption with a very large bump. Good pain-free function often returns even with a very large bump. The greater the deformity, the longer it takes for pain-free function to return.

A mild shoulder separation involves a sprain of the AC ligament that does not move the collarbone and looks normal on X-rays. More serious injury tears the AC ligament and sprains or slightly tears the coracoclavicular (CC) ligament, putting the collarbone out of alignment to some extent with a smaller bump. The most severe shoulder separation completely tears both the AC and CC ligaments and puts the AC joint noticeably out of position, with a larger bump.

Click on shoulder conditions to learn more! Omaha Shoulder Information provided by Dr. Darren Keiser.