It has been well-documented that long-term sequelae after an acute dislocation treated nonoperatively may result in painful degenerative changes within the SC joint over time. Thus, patients may present years after the initial injury with painful arthritis of the SC joint, seeking a surgical solution.
Numerous techniques have been described for the treatment of the unstable or degenerative SC joint. In general, SC joint instability is treated by stabilization procedures with suture anchors, plates, or tendon grafts. Arthritis of the SC joint is typically treated with open excision of the medial clavicle, although newer arthroscopic techniques are available. However, because these injuries are rare and prior clinical studies have only reported on small numbers of injuries, there still does not exist an accepted standard for surgical treatment.