How is a shoulder separation treated?
Lower grade AC joint injuries can be treated with a non-surgical approach. A sling or brace can help immobilize the joint, ice, rest and medication, can help minimize pain and aid in healing. Patients are often able to return to their normal activities in 1-6 weeks. Pain, however, can persist for many months after an AC joint injury – even with the lower grade AC joint separations where the ligaments are only stretched and not completely torn.
Higher grade AC joint separations may require surgery. Dr. Vidal offers patients in the Vail, Aspen and surrounding Denver, Colorado communities a minimally invasive procedure called AC joint reconstruction. During this procedure, Dr. Vidal will use special surgical instruments to operate around the AC joint, reconstructing and repairing the torn ligaments and capsule. The AC joint is stabilized by repairing and tightening the damaged ligaments. In certain cases, the surgery may require a ligament graft to restore stability. Afterward, a specialized physical therapy program is required to regain strength and full motion of the AC joint.