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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Position of Immobilization After First-Time Traumatic Anterior Glenohumeral Dislocation: A Literature Review

Olga Gutkowska, Jacek Martynkiewicz, Jerzy Gosk

Department of Traumatology, Clinical Department of Traumatology and Hand Surgery, Wrocław Medical University, Wrocław, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:3437-3445

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.901876

Available online: 2017-07-15

Published: 2017-07-15

ABSTRACT: Anterior glenohumeral dislocation affects about 2% of the general population during the lifetime. The incidence of traumatic glenohumeral dislocation ranges from 8.2 to 26.69 per 100 000 population per year. The most common complication is recurrent dislocation occurring in 17–96% of the patients. The majority of patients are treated conservatively by closed reduction and immobilization in internal rotation for 2–3 weeks. However, no clear conservative treatment protocol exists. Immobilization in external rotation can be considered an alternative. A range of external rotation braces are commercially available.
The purpose of this work was to review the current literature on conservative management of glenohumeral dislocation and to compare the results of immobilization in internal and external rotation.
A comprehensive literature search and review was performed using the keywords “glenohumeral dislocation”, “shoulder dislocation”, “immobilization”, “external rotation”, and “recurrent dislocation” in PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases from their inceptions to May 2016.
Three cadaveric studies, 6 imaging studies, 10 clinical studies, and 4 meta-analyses were identified. The total number of 734 patients were included in the clinical studies.
Literature analysis revealed better coaptation of the labrum on the glenoid rim in external rotation in cadaveric and imaging studies. However, this tendency was not confirmed by lower redislocation rates or better quality of life in clinical studies.
On the basis of the available literature, we cannot confirm the superiority of immobilization in external rotation after glenohumeral dislocation when compared to internal rotation. A yet-to-be-determined group of patients with specific labroligamentous injury pattern may benefit from immobilization in external rotation. Further studies are needed to identify these patients.

Keywords: Braces, Immobilization, Orthotic Devices, Shoulder Dislocation