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Article Dans Une Revue Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research Année : 2010

Is external rotation the correct immobilisation for acute shoulder dislocation? An MRI study


INTRODUCTION: Anterior dislocation of the shoulder is frequent, with high rates of recurrence. Immobilization in external rotation (ER) seems to improve results, although few studies have actually demonstrated this. The present MRI study examined the impact of ER on labral and capsular ligamentous complex lesions after primary dislocation. MATERIAL: A prospective study was started up on January 1st, 2007. Inclusion criteria were: acute initial anteromedial dislocation of the shoulder, without past history of shoulder trauma. There were 23 such patients, with a mean age of 37 years. METHODS: Early MRI scan used the following protocol: one acquisition in internal rotation followed by one in ER. Study criteria were: hemarthrosis, ER amplitude, rotator cuff status, bone lesion, and labral lesion stage (Habermeyer's classification) and displacement (Itoi criteria). RESULTS: There were 12 right and 11 left shoulders. Mean time to MRI was 3.7 days. There were three rotator cuff tears, no glenal lesions, and 14 humeral notches. Hemarthrosis was almost systematically present, with its distribution modified by ER in 75% of cases; three patients showed no posterior hemarthrosis, in whatever rotation. Mean ER was 37 degrees. On Habermeyer's classification, there were 12 stage-1 lesions, and 10 stage-2; one patient had no labral lesion. All separated labra were reduced in ER, five (21%) totally. In six cases, labral displacement changed according to rotation. All anterior joint effusion was reduced in ER, in three cases totally. DISCUSSION: According to Itoi among others, immobilization in ER is the way to reduce recurrence of anterior dislocation. The present study confirmed that labral reduction was systematic with ER, but it was by no means always complete. ER seemed more effective in reducing the separation. Results further confirmed that ER reduced anterior capsule volume, a recurrence factor. CONCLUSION: ER reduced hemarthrosis, anterior capsule detachment and labral lesions, and never the contrary. The interest of immobilization in ER to prevent shoulder instability needs confirming by long-term clinical studies; we are therefore extending the present MRI study by a clinical study of ER immobilization in all patients showing significant labral lesion reduction. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV. Retrospective therapeutic study.

Dates et versions

hal-00741701 , version 1 (15-10-2012)



Julien Siegler, J. Proust, P. S. M. Marcheix, J. L. Charissoux, Christian Mabit, et al.. Is external rotation the correct immobilisation for acute shoulder dislocation? An MRI study. Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research, 2010, 96 (4), pp.329-333. ⟨10.1016/j.otsr.2010.02.005⟩. ⟨hal-00741701⟩
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