It is a small, nearly immobile joint located between the acromion and the clavicle. It acts as a rigid hanger, with which the clavicle “supports” the weight of the arm and the scapula.
A fracture of the clavicle or an acromioclavicular dislocation disrupts this rigid hanger. Due to its weight, the arm “falls” downward and is only held by the soft tissues that connect it to the chest.
In cases of mild to moderate acromioclavicular dislocations, such injuries can be treated with appropriate immobilization followed by rehabilitation.
In severe cases (displaced fractures or acromioclavicular dislocations), it is necessary to realign the acromioclavicular hanger and secure it rigidly enough (using screws, pins, ligament reconstruction, etc.).
For acute acromioclavicular dislocations occurring within the last 3 weeks, outpatient fixation using pins and a non-absorbable bone suture allows for the healing of torn ligaments. The arm is immobilized in a sling for 6 weeks, and the pins are removed at the end of this period.
In the case of a chronic dislocation, the ligaments no longer have the ability to heal on their own. In such cases, ligament reconstruction is performed. The new ligaments are fixed to the bone using anchors (similar to tiny harpoons in the bone) or endobuttons.
Post-operative recovery is similar for acute and chronic dislocations.