AC Joint Separation Treatment

The decision on the type of treatment for an ac joint separation is based on the type or grade level of the shoulder separation. Less severe (type 1 or 2) usually requires physical therapy, while a more complex ac separations might require surgery depending on the severity.  Due to the complexity of properly diagnosing an ac joint separation level, an in-depth evaluation is highly recommended.


Surgical Decision Making

Deciding whether or not to have early surgery is a complex decision in many cases. For cases of very severe deformity (type 4 and type 5 separations) and for extremely active patients surgery is strongly recommended. In those less active or with only a type 3 separation, decision making needs to be individualized. It is difficult to predict ahead of time which patients will be satisfied without surgery and which won’t. An unsuccessful attempt at nonsurgical treatment does, however, result in the need for a more complex surgical procedure. Therefore, each patient will have to consider their needs and expectations carefully before deciding on what is best for them.