Success rates for surgery on your acromioclavicular joint from shoulder injuries are generally high, with many people able to regain full function and return to sports or normal activity.
Your acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located between a part of your shoulder blade called the acromion process and your collarbone.
Injuries to the AC joint usually occur after direct impact to your shoulder or from falling and catching yourself on your outstretched hand. AC joint injuries make up as many as
AC joint surgery is used to treat severe AC joint injuries. Currently, there’s no consensus on a gold standard surgery, and the best surgery for you depends on the type and severity of your injury.
Read on to learn more about the success rate for AC joint surgery.
The first AC joint repair occurred in
AC joint injuries are categorized from grade 1 to grade 5, depending on their severity, with higher grade injuries being more severe.
Research is mixed on whether grade 3 injuries should be surgically repaired. Grade 3 AC joint injuries feature complete disruptions of the attached ligaments with complete separation of the shoulder blade and the collarbone.
Success rates vary widely between studies based on factors like:
- the specific situations of the people in the study
- severity of injury
- type of surgery
Return to sport
In one 2022
In a 2019 review, researchers found that 84% of 401 people with grade 3 to 6 injuries returned to their same level of sport, and 9% returned to their sport at a lower level.
Success rates in middle-aged adults
In a 2020
All 24 people in a 2020
Revision surgery success rates
In yet another
Complication rates of AC surgery vary between about
In a 2020
- bone loss (osteolysis)
- implant failure
- collarbone fracture
Other potential complications include:
AC joint surgery is usually used to treat grade
Your recovery time depends on factors such as the severity of your injury and surgery type.
You may be allowed to carry weight and participate in noncontact sports
In the 2022
Minor AC joint injuries can usually be treated without surgery. Conservative treatment options include:
- immobilization with a sling, brace, or strapping
- cortisone injections
- warm and cold compresses
- pain medications
Here are some frequently asked questions people have about AC joint injuries.
Can you fully recover from AC joint injury?
Many people with minor AC joint injuries make a full recovery. The chances of making a full recovery depend on the severity of your injury.
Do AC joint ligaments grow back?
Minor ligament injuries can heal by themselves without surgery. Serious injuries usually need surgical repair. AC ligaments lose their potential to heal about
Is AC joint surgery painful?
AC joint surgery shouldn’t be painful since you’ll receive anesthesia, but you’ll likely experience discomfort afterward.
Your doctor will prescribe pain medications to help you manage your pain in the days after the procedure. Regular use of an ice cooling machine or ice pack, whichever is prescribed, provides additional comfort. Finally, you’ll need to wear a shoulder sling continuously until you’ve been advised to stop.
AC joint surgery treats injuries to the AC joint between your shoulder blade and collarbone. Surgery is usually only necessary for severe injuries.
There are many types of surgery, and the best type for you depends on factors like the type and severity of your injury. Many people can return to sports after their operation.