Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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AC Separation Types

Types of shoulder AC separation include:

  • Type 1 AC shoulder separation:
    • Injury to the capsule that surrounds the AC joint
    • No tears to the AC ligaments
    • Mainly pain, but bones are in normal position
  • Type 2 AC shoulder separation:
    • Injury to capsule
    • Partial tears of the coracoclavicular ligament which support the AC joint
    • Small bump may be seen on shoulder
  • Type 3 AC shoulder separation:
    • Injury to capsule
    • More substantial tearing of the coracoclavicular ligament which support the AC joint
    • Large bump may be seen on shoulder
  • Type 4 AC shoulder separation:
    • Unusual injury
    • Injury to capsule and acromioclavicular ligament
    • End of clavicle is pushed behind the AC joint
    • May need surgery
  • Type 5 AC shoulder separation:
    • This is a severe form of the type 3 injury
    • The muscle that overlies the AC joint gets punctured by the end of the clavicle, causing a large bump over the injury
    • Surgery is likely
  • Type 6 AC shoulder separation:
    • Very rare
    • Clavicle is pushed downwards and becomes trapped below the coracoid process (a part of the scapula)
    • Surgery is required

Continue to AC Separation Anatomy

Last Updated: Aug 8, 2008 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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