Shoulder Dislocation in the Older Patient

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. October 2012;20(10) Anand M. Murthi

Abstract Approximately 20% of all shoulder dislocations occur in patients aged >60 years. Older patients who sustain a primary shoulder dislocation are much less likely than younger patients to suffer from recurrence. However, older patients are more likely than younger patients to sustain injuries to the rotator cuff, axillary nerve, or brachial plexus. Rotator cuff tears are significantly more common than nerve palsies, and rotator cuff tears can be mistaken for nerve palsies. Older patients with persistent shoulder pain and dysfunction after dislocation should be carefully evaluated for rotator cuff pathology. Although dislocation is a common injury in the older population, these concomitant injuries—especially of the rotator cuff—are often missed.

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