When there is damage to the Acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is the prominent bony ‘bump’ on the top of your shoulder, the person affected will often experience pain when performing overhead movements, such as throwing a ball, lifting something above their head, or reaching for something above head height.
Referred to as a shoulder separation, the treatment of an AC injury can involve surgery that is performed by arthroscopy. An arthroscopic AC repair involves a small narrow camera being inserted into the joint along with narrow instruments. The end of the collarbone (clavicle) is removed. The clavicle is then fixed into place. Arthroscopic surgery offers a faster recovery time when compared to open surgery, there is less risk of complications occurring, patients experience less pain with arthroscopic surgery, and scarring is reduced.
If the AC joint is very unstable surgery may have to be performed openly. A larger incision, a few centimetres in length, is made across the front top of the shoulder. After the end of the collarbone is removed, the ligament is then attached to the end of the cut bone. The recovery time after surgery is often greater with open surgery when compared to arthroscopic surgery.
With an AC injury, surgery is often the best option in order to regain movement of the shoulder and relieve pain. Arthroscopic AC repair surgery offers patients a very high chance of making a full and complete recovery from an AC injury.