Can I Have Shoulder Narrowing Surgery If I Have Had An AC Shoulder Separation Injury?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a patient looking for clavicle shortening surgery. I would like to learn about the procedure and cost. I had a shoulder injury last week which causes right AC joint dislocation, with 100-200% displacement. I am resting at home and would like to know this specific injury will interfere with the possibility that I can receive the clavicle shortening surgery. Do I need to seriously consider a surgery to correct this dislocation, or it is fine without correction surgery to have the narrowing surgery in the future as long as I recover well in case of function and pain? Shall we setup an initial consultation about it?

A:This is a good question to which I have to admit that I do not know the definitive answer since it is not a preoperative consideration I have seen before. I think the real question is whether shortening the clavicle on the AC separation side, once it is fully healed and recovered, will have any negative arm range of motion effects on what may be a ‘lax shoulder joint’. Does moving in the lateral clavicular head aggravate or increase the risk of subsequent AC separation? This is really a question for an orthopedic shoulder surgeon although they likely will not a have a definitive answer either unless they have done clavicle shortening on a patient with a similar history. (which has not been done to the best of my knowledge) My suspicion is it would not in a fully healed shoulder. But no one can say with absolute certainty whether it would or would not be an issue.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon