What is Arthroscopic AC joint repair and reconstruction?
In cases of severe AC joint injury, surgery is needed because chronic AC joint instability causes recurring joint subluxations and activity induced pain and long-term shoulder problems.. The goal of AC joint repair is to secure the collarbone back into its normal position by attaching strong sutures to the collarbone and the front of the shoulder blade. Dr. Mazzara performs this surgery arthroscopically using a small camera to see inside the shoulder. Small instruments are inserted through tiny incisions in the top of the shoulder. If there is significant damage, Dr. Mazzara will often reconstruct the coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments, which involves looping a donated graft from the front of the shoulder blade to the top of the collarbone. In more acute AC joint separations (less than 3 weeks old), the AC joint can be repaired with special Kevlar sutures and anchors alone avoiding the need for a tendon graft.
Arthroscopic AC joint repair and reconstruction is performed on an outpatient basis and patients are asked to wear a sling for several weeks. Within days following the procedure, full range of motion is quickly re-established with the help of physical therapy and special exercises. After the ligaments have healed, patients will be allowed to use strengthening exercises and discard the arm sling. Patients are usually allowed to return to sporting activities around 3 to 4 months after surgery.
If you have experienced an AC joint injury or would like further information regarding treatment options, please contact the office of Dr. James Mazzara, orthopedic shoulder surgeon in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.