Results of treatment of luxatio erecta (inferior shoulder dislocation)

Gordon I. Groh, Michael A. Wirth, Charles A. Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: Traumatic inferior shoulder dislocation (luxatio erecta) injuries are rare, comprising less than 0.5% of all shoulder dislocations. Few cases have been reported, and the outcome of treatment has been ill defined. Materials and methods: Between 1968 and 2000, 18 patients (20 shoulders) with luxatio erecta were evaluated at our institution. Two patients (2 shoulders) were lost to follow-up, leaving 16 patients (18 shoulders) for long-term follow-up (average, 9 years). Associated injuries included peripheral nerve injury, humeral fracture, acromial fracture, and rotator cuff tear. All patients were initially managed with closed reduction, which was successful in 9 shoulders. The remaining 9 shoulders required operative treatment. Results: Patients were evaluated with respected to pain, function, range of motion, strength, and patient satisfaction, according to the University of California at Los Angeles Rating Scale. Overall, 13 of the 16 patients were graded as good or excellent. Patients treated with closed reduction or operative treatment compared favorably in terms of improvements in ratings for pain, strength, motion, and the ability to perform work and sports. Discussion: Our experience suggests that treatment of luxatio erecta is largely successful, with good or excellent results obtained in 83% of the shoulders. Half of the patients evaluated, required only closed reduction as their definitive treatment. Operative treatment is typically indicated for associated displaced humeral head fractures or patients with recurrent instability. Recurrent instability appears to be more likely in patients with a previous history of dislocation. Associated neurologic or vascular injury did not affect the final outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-426
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Luxatio erecta
  • inferior shoulder dislocation
  • results of treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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