AC Joint Repair Overview
The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located inside the shoulder where the clavicle (collarbone) attaches to the acromion (roof of the shoulder). Coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments help stabilize the AC joint and attach the collarbone to the front of the scapula (shoulder blade). Patients in the Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens & NYC area may injure the AC joint and the connected coracoclavicular ligaments during an automobile accident, a fall or a direct hit to the shoulder during athletic activities. While many injuries to the acromioclavicular joint heal without surgery, certain patients may require a surgical procedure to alleviate joint pain and discomfort, as well as to return full joint function. Dr. Jonathan Ticker, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, specializes in arthroscopic AC joint repair and coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction with grafting.
Orthopedic specialists grade injuries to the AC joint on a 1-6 grading scale with higher numbers representing a more severe injury. Many grade 3-6 injuries will require an arthroscopic AC joint repair, and possibly a coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction, to alleviate shoulder pain and weakness caused by a severe, partial or complete ligament tear.
The overall goal of an arthroscopic AC joint repair is to secure the collarbone back to its normal position and ensure all bones are properly aligned so the shoulder functions as designed. Dr. Ticker utilizes strong sutures attached to the front portion of the shoulder blade and to the collarbone in order to achieve normal alignment. Certain patients may also require a coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction to complete the repair. This portion of the AC joint repair involves Dr. Ticker looping a graft, either from the patient or a donor, from the shoulder blade to the top area of the collarbone to reconstruct a CC ligament.
Arthroscopic AC Joint Repair and Coracoclavicular Ligament Reconstruction Recovery and Rehabilitation
Patients will be required to wear a sling or similar device for several weeks following the AC joint repair surgery. Sling usage is extremely important in order to help protect the repaired joint. Dr. Ticker will prescribe a detailed physical therapy program immediately following the procedure to regain range of motion and overall joint function. As the CC ligaments heal, patients will discard the sling and progress through the physical therapy program until a full recovery is achieved.
Arthroscopic AC Joint Repair and Coracoclavicular Ligament Reconstruction Recovery Time
A patient’s return to sports is a gradual, steady process following an arthroscopic AC joint repair and coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction with grafting. Many patients can expect a full return to activities within four months if rehabilitation guidelines are strictly followed.
For additional resources on arthroscopic AC joint repair, or for more information on coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction with grafting, please contact the Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens & NYC area orthopedic office of Dr. Jonathan Ticker.