Indexed on: 18 Oct '03Published on: 18 Oct '03Published in: Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Thirty-two patients with chronic dislocation of the shoulder were diagnosed over a 5-year period at King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, South Africa. Thirty-one patients had an anterior subcoracoid dislocation. One patient had a chronic posterior dislocation. The duration of dislocation ranged from 6 days to 2 years. Six patients were epileptic, and it was an affliction of all ages. None of the patients had a vascular deficit, but 4 had neurologic damage on presentation. Closed manipulation was only successful in 1 patient. Ten patients' shoulders were left unreduced in the dislocated position. Twenty-one patients, including the patient with a single posterior dislocation, underwent open reduction. The author treated 10 patients with chronic anterior dislocations surgically. The coracoid was transferred to the glenoid, and acromiohumeral K-wire fixation was used for 4 weeks in this group. These 10 cases, as well as 5 cases left unreduced, were followed up for more than 2 years. The results were evaluated by the system proposed by Rowe and Zarins and showed that surgically treated patients fared better than those whose shoulders were left unreduced regardless of the duration of the dislocation or the age of the patient. This series differs from previous reports in several respects. All but one of the dislocations were anterior, the incidence of epilepsy was lower, and successful reduction by manipulation was rarely achieved. In all 10 cases in which the author performed the operation, the shoulder was successfully relocated without neurovascular complications. Dissection of the axillary vessels and nerves was never necessary.