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Shoulder Arthroscopy for AC Reconstruction

The AC joint, which is located at the point at which the acromion and the clavicle bones meet, is often injured due to a hard knock or fall or during impact sports. In addition, trauma can cause the acromion to separate from the clavicle, and ligaments can be stretched and torn. In cases where surgery is required to repair this kind of injury, I would consider the timing of the injury and a reconstruction of the joint with or without the use of a donor ligament.

AC ligament injuries are classified according to grade, depending on the severity. For example, grade 1 and 2 AC ligament injuries are not severe but cause pain due to stretching or a sprain. Whereas grade 3-6 AC ligament injuries have greater consequences when not treated timeously. In this case, due to a severe grade of injury, the ligament injury is repaired through arthroscopic shoulder surgery to treat shoulder pain and instability of the joint.

Arthroscopic AC joint repair surgery occurs in an outpatient setting. The surgical repair of the shoulder aims to reattach the collarbone to its usual position using sutures attached from the anterior part of the shoulder blade, extending to the collarbone. Usually, specific techniques are used to reconstruct the ligament by looping a graft from the shoulder blade to the collarbone.

Recovery from joint repair takes a few weeks following surgery. In the meantime, the patient is requested to wear a sling until their shoulder heals completely. After AC ligament surgery, I will recommend physical therapy to promote and practise range of motion exercises. Recovery is an important part of the rejuvenation process, enabling the patient to better command their shoulder joint. Once physical therapy advances and the patient regains the use of their shoulder, they can slowly progress to other activities while avoiding excessive strain on the joint.


No, but we can repair the ligament using a graft. Typically we use a ligament from another part of the body to compensate for the damaged ligament. Usually, after reconstruction of the ligament, you will regain motion of your shoulder and arm.

Provided you give yourself time to heal from shoulder surgery, you can expect to use your shoulder after twelve weeks. Usually, full recovery takes somewhere between six to twelve weeks.

A mini-surgical technique called the Mumford procedure is a type of surgery to remove a part of the clavicle, usually the end of it, through arthroscopy.


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Address Johannesburg Surgical Hospital, 219 Beyers Naude Drive, Northcliff Randburg 2195