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Combination of Surgical Techniques Restores Multidirectional Biomechanical Stability of Acromioclavicular Joint

Published:December 14, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2021.11.051

      Purpose

      To measure the multiaxial stability of the acromioclavicular joint before and after transection of the acromioclavicular capsule and coracoclavicular ligaments and after sequential repair of acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments.

      Methods

      Biomechanical testing was performed on fresh-frozen human cadaveric shoulders (N = 6). Translational and rotational stability in the vertical and horizontal planes was measured in intact specimens, after transecting the acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments, and after sequentially performing the following procedures: single-bundle coracoclavicular repair (CCR), modified Weaver–Dunn procedure (WD), and acromioclavicular stabilization (ACS).

      Results

      Resecting the acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular significantly reduced translational stiffness in the inferior and anteroposterior directions, as well as rotational stiffness about the vertical and anteroposterior axes. All 3 surgical procedures increased inferior translational stiffness relative to the intact condition (Intact: 38 ± 9 N/mm, CCR: 54 ± 23 N/mm (P = .03), CCR+WD 52 ± 20 N/mm (P = .07), CCR ± WD+ACS 50 ± 21 N/mm (P = .17)). However, the combination of CCR, modified WD, and ACS resulted in the greatest increase in stiffness in internal rotation (Intact: 12.5 ± 7.4 cNm/deg, CCR: 1.2 ± 1.1 cNm/deg, CCR+WD 7.2 ± 3.0 N∗m/deg [P = .023], CCR+WD+ACS 11.6 ± 4.9 cNm/deg [P = .055]).

      Conclusions

      The cumulative stability of CCR, WD reconstruction, and ACS appears to be additive. Our findings provide a biomechanical justification for combining all three techniques. Biomechanical studies assessing the performance of various acromioclavicular repairs and reconstructions should therefore incorporate multiaxial testing in their protocols.

      Clinical Relevance

      Multiple points of fixation that provide multidirectional stability have the potential to improve clinical outcomes and reduce failure rates of acromioclavicular joint repair or stabilization.
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