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Dr. Tomaino's Blog

Shoulder Update: “Injuries Associated with Traumatic Anterior Glenohumeral Dislocations”

January 15th, 2012
The above article, in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, evaluated a large data base of 3633 patients who sustained a traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation—that’s where the “ball” comes out the front—off of the socket. The study showed that 13.5% had a neurologic injury (typically the axillary nerve) and 33.4% had either a rotator cuff tear or a fracture of the greater tuberosity—which is where the rotator cuff tendon attaches to the bone. The likelihood of having a nerve injury was significantly increased for patients who had a concomitant fracture or cuff tear. And, these findings were more commonly observed in patients older than 60 years of age.

What does this mean?

It means that if you sustain an anterior shoulder dislocation, especially if you are older than 60, it’s advisable that your physician rules out a neurologic injury, rotator cuff tear, and/or greater tuberosity fracture.

Usually an x-ray and physical exam will be sufficient, but if you have any weakness, an MRI and electrodiagnostic studies may be required.



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