Operative treatment of acute acromioclavicular joint dislocations graded Rockwood III-V: a retrospective and comparative study between three different surgical techniques

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Michele Fosser
Antonio Camporese


acromioclavicular dislocation, acromioclavicular surgical treatment, acromioclavicular joint, coracoclavicular ligaments, shoulder surgery, dislocation, tightrope, hookplate


Background: the optimal treatment of acute type III-V acromioclavicular (A-C) Rockwood dislocations is still a matter of discussion in orthopaedic surgery.

Aim of the work:  retrospective and comparative evaluation of the clinical and radiographic results of three different surgical techniques for stabilization of A-C joint using tension band wiring, hook plate and TightRope.

Methods: a consecutive series of patients, treated from January 2014 and November 2019, were divided into three groups according to the surgical method used. They were clinically and radiographically assessed and the results were compared with those present in the literature.

Results:66 patients, with a mean age of 44.7 years, were enrolled with a mean follow-up of 37.7 months (range 6-58 months). All patients, regardless of the group, had satisfactory outcome. According to the DASH score, statistically significant difference favours the TightRope Group (TRG) fixation (p<0.005). The TRG showed the highest mean Constant score (96,1); there are no significative differences between the clinical scores of Hook Plate Group (HPG) and Tension Band Wiring Group (TBWG). However, these two methods showed numerous complications, especially metal-work mobilization and stiffness respectively.

Conclusions: good results can be overall achieved with primary fixation by the three different surgical methods under investigation. The TightRope system exhibited some advantages such as higher clinical scores, early recovery of range of  movements, longitudinal surgical incision with non-keloid scar, no need for a second surgery and lower rate of complications.


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