Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I went on-line and found an article about a new way to repair shoulder separations. The surgeons used a tendon graft from one of the wrist muscles. They say it was nearly as strong as the normal joint. Is this operation being done everywhere? I've been putting off having my AC joint repaired for the last three years. Maybe it's time now.

Answer:

You may be referring to the Grutter and Petersen article in The American Journal of Sports Medicine on using the flexor carpi radialis (FCR) tendon graft. They developed this method of AC repair that doesn't use any wires or screws.

They say the tendon graft restores the joint to its normal position and function. They used the FCR tendon graft to replace three of the ligaments holding the AC joint together.

If this is the study you saw, it's important to note they used cadavers, not live patients. The results were encouraging since cadavers don't have the "live" and dynamic muscles around the joint to assist with motion and stability. The models used were all from older adults, too.

Most likely this technique will be studied on live subjects before it's adopted as a standard operation for AC repair.

Paul W. Grutter, MD, and Steve A. Petersen, MD. Anatomical Acromioclavicular Ligament Reconstruction. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. November 2005. Vol. 33. No. 11. Pp. 1723-1728.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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