Shoulder Dislocations Recur After External Rotation Immobilization

Similar recurrence rate for shoulder immobilization in external rotation and internal rotation

FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Shoulder joint immobilization with external rotation in patients with first-time traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation does not reduce the recurrence rate more than traditional immobilization with internal rotation, according to a study published in the May 18 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Sigurd Liavaag, M.D., from Sørlandet Hospital in Arendal, Norway, and colleagues compared the results of immobilization in internal and external rotation after anterior shoulder dislocation in 188 patients. Participants were randomly allocated to three weeks of immobilization with internal rotation (95 patients) or external rotation (93 patients). Recurrent dislocation of the arm within 24 months of follow-up was the primary outcome measured.

The investigators found that, after a minimum of two years, 97.9 and 97.8 percent of patients in the internal and external immobilization groups were followed up, respectively. Compliance rates with immobilization were 47.4 and 67.7 percent in the internal and external groups, respectively. The recurrence rate evaluated with intention-to-treat analysis was not significantly different in the internal and external groups (24.7 and 30.8 percent, respectively).

"We found no difference in the rate of recurrent dislocation between patients randomized to three weeks of immobilization in 15 degrees of external rotation and those randomized to conventional immobilization in internal rotation," the authors write.

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