Management of Traumatic Sternoclavicular Joint Injuries

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Gordon I. Groh, MD and Michael A. Wirth, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 19, No 1, January 2011, Traumatic sternoclavicular joint injuries account for <3% of all traumatic joint injuries. Proper recognition and treatment are vital because these injuries may be life threatening. Injuries are classified according to patient age, severity, and, in the setting of dislocation, the direction of the medial clavicle. Anterior injuries are far more common than posterior injuries. Posterior dislocation may be associated with complications such as dyspnea, dysphagia, cyanosis, and swelling of the ipsilateral extremity as well as paresthesia associated with compression of the trachea, esophagus, or great vessels. These life-threatening complications may present at the time of injury but can develop later, as well. Radiography has been largely supplanted by CT for evaluation of this injury, although an oblique view developed by Wirth and Rockwood is useful in evaluating isolated sternoclavicular injury. MRI is useful in differentiating physeal injury from sternoclavicular dislocation in patients aged <23 years.

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