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After Shoulder Dislocation, One-Week Immobilization Sufficient

Longer duration not beneficial; patients younger than 30 have increased risk of recurrence

FRIDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Immobilization of the shoulder for longer than one week following dislocation does not appear to be beneficial, and age under 30 years is predictive of recurrence, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

William H. Paterson, M.D., of the University of Tennessee in Memphis, and colleagues carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature to identify the optimal position and duration of shoulder immobilization to prevent recurrent dislocation. The study focused on results from nine Level I and II studies.

The investigators found that, for patients younger than 30 years of age, the rate of recurrence was 41 percent in those who were immobilized for up to a week. Increasing the duration of immobilization to three weeks did not confer a significant benefit. Recurrence was significantly increased in patients younger than 30 years of age. Patients treated with conventional sling immobilization in internal rotation had an increased recurrence compared with those treated with bracing in external rotation, but the difference was not statistically significant.

"There is no benefit to immobilization in internal rotation for more than one week as it pertains to recurrent instability in patients under 30 years of age," the authors write.

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