Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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AC Separation Overview

Another name for AC Separation is Shoulder AC Separation.

What is shoulder A-C separation?
A person with shoulder A-C separation has torn the acromioclavicular ligaments. These ligaments hold the clavicle to the acromion of the scapula. The most common cause of shoulder A-C separation is a direct force applied to the shoulder, such as a fall onto the shoulder. The most common cause of shoulder A-C separation is a sports injury.

What are the symptoms of shoulder A-C separation?
Symptoms of shoulder A-C separation include shoulder pain, bruising, swelling, and tenderness. The shoulder may be deformed in someone with a shoulder A-C separation.

How does the doctor treat shoulder A-C separation?
Treatment for shoulder A-C separation may include rest, a sling, cold compresses, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or narcotic pain medications. Treatment for severe shoulder A-C separation may require surgery.

Continue to AC Separation Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed AC Separation References
  1. Breslow MJ, Jazrawi LM, Bernstein AD, Kummer FJ, Rokito AS. Treatment of acromioclavicular joint separation: suture or suture anchors? J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2002 May-Jun;11(3):225-9. [12070493]
  2. Jerosch J, Filler T, Peuker E, Greig M, Siewering U. Which stabilization technique corrects anatomy best in patients with AC-separation? An experimental study. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 1999;7(6):365-72. [10639655]
  3. Rolla PR, Surace MF, Murena L. Arthroscopic treatment of acute acromioclavicular joint dislocation. Arthroscopy. 2004 Jul;20(6):662-8. [15241323]
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