Treatment of traumatic posterior sternoclavicular dislocations

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background: Traumatic posterior sternoclavicular joint injuries are rare, but complications are common and include brachial plexus and vascular injury, esophageal rupture, and death. Materials and methods: The records of 21 patients treated at our institution for a posterior sternoclavicular injury were reviewed. All patients underwent a trial of closed reduction, which was effective in 8 patients (group I). The remaining 13 patients were treated with open reduction and sternoclavicular joint reconstruction (group II). Results: Closed reduction was more likely to be successful (P < .05) in dislocations treated within 10 days of injury. Patients were evaluated by use of the University of California, Los Angeles rating scale. Overall, 18 of 21 patients were graded as good or excellent. Patients treated with either open or closed reduction as their definitive management compared favorably in terms of ratings for pain, strength, and motion. Conclusion: Our experience suggests that closed reduction compares favorably with open reduction. Of patients treated, 38% required only closed reduction as their definitive treatment. In this series early closed reduction was successful and obviated the risks of surgery. Patients who in whom closed reduction failed obtained good results with operative treatment aimed at reconstruction of the costoclavicular ligaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of shoulder and elbow surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Case Series
  • Closed reduction
  • Hilar decompression
  • Level IV
  • Open reduction
  • Posterior sternoclavicular injury
  • Sternoclavicular reconstruction
  • Trauma
  • Treatment Study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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