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Complications following arthroscopic fixation of acromioclavicular separations: a systematic review of the literature

Authors Woodmass J, Esposito J, Ono Y, Nelson A, Boorman R, Thornton G, Lo I

Received 25 August 2014

Accepted for publication 11 October 2014

Published 10 April 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 97—107

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S73211

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Freddie H Fu


Jarret M Woodmass,1 John G Esposito,1 Yohei Ono,1,2 Atiba A Nelson,1 Richard S Boorman,1 Gail M Thornton,1,3 Ian KY Lo1

1Department of Surgery, Section of Orthopaedic Surgery, McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan; 3Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Purpose: Over the past decade, a number of arthroscopic or arthroscopically assisted reconstruction techniques have emerged for the management of acromioclavicular (AC) separations. These techniques provide the advantage of superior visualization of the base of the coracoid, less soft tissue dissection, and smaller incisions. While these techniques have been reported to provide excellent functional results with minimal complications, discrepancies exist within the literature. This systematic review aims to assess the rate of complications following these procedures.
Methods: Two independent reviewers completed a search of Medline, Embase, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library entries up to December 2013. The terms “Acromioclavicular Joint (MeSH)” OR “acromioclavicular* (text)” OR “coracoclavicular* (text)” AND “Arthroscopy (MeSH)” OR “Arthroscop* (text)” were used. Pooled estimates and 95% confidence intervals were calculated assuming a random-effects model. Statistical heterogeneity was quantified using the I2 statistic.
Level of evidence: IV
Results: A total of 972 abstracts met the search criteria. After removal of duplicates and assessment of inclusion/exclusion criteria, 12 articles were selected for data extraction. The rate of superficial infection was 3.8% and residual shoulder/AC pain or hardware irritation occurred at a rate of 26.7%. The rate of coracoid/clavicle fracture was 5.3% and occurred most commonly with techniques utilizing bony tunnels. Loss of AC joint reduction occurred in 26.8% of patients.
Conclusion: Arthroscopic AC reconstruction techniques carry a distinct complication profile. The TightRope/Endobutton techniques, when performed acutely, provide good radiographic outcomes at the expense of hardware irritation. In contrast, graft reconstructions in patients with chronic AC separations demonstrated a high risk for loss of reduction. Fractures of the coracoid/clavicle remain a significant complication occurring predominately with techniques utilizing bony tunnels.

Keywords: fracture, reduction, hardware irritation

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