What is the treatment for AC joint separation or a CC ligament injury?
AC joint injuries are graded into six different classifications based on the severity of injury to the AC joint capsule and surrounding ligaments. Grades 1-3 are degrees of separation typically caused by a sprain or stretching of the ligaments. Grades 4-6 are the most severe types of AC joint injuries involving a complete disruption of the AC joint and CC ligaments. These severe injuries require surgical reconstruction to realign the clavicle with the highest point of the shoulder. This can be accomplished by one, or both, of these surgical methods:
- AC joint repair: The AC joint capsule and ligaments are primarily repaired using sutures.
- CC ligament reconstruction: Utilizes a tissue autograft or allograft to reconstruct the CC ligaments and return the clavicle to its correct the position relative to the shoulder blade.
How is AC joint repair & CC ligament reconstruction performed?
An AC joint repair is done in a minimally invasive manner by using an arthroscope (small camera) and specialized surgical instruments to realign the clavicle with the highest point of the shoulder. Surgical anchors, that are fastened within the bone, aid in securing the torn ligaments back to their correct anatomical position. AC joint reconstruction is performed using the arthroscope and several small incisions; this procedure reconstructs the CC ligaments using a tendon graft,. The graft replicates the normal course of the CC ligaments by wrapping the graft around a hook on the scapular (coracoid process) and attaching the free ends of the graft into the clavicle. This surgery stabilized the AC joint and reduces the deformity.