Failed anterior acromioplasty: A review of 51 cases

R. J. Hawkins, T. Chris, D. Bokor, G. Kiefer

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46 Citations (Scopus)


This report is a retrospective review of 51 patients, each of whom had a failed acromioplasty that was performed after presumptive diagnoses of impingement tendinitis. The purpose of the review is to analyze the failures, define their causes, and make recommendations regarding further management. Average age at time of initial surgery was 40 years (range, 20-64 years), and the follow-up period averaged 5.5 years (range, three to nine years). Thirty-four patients were found to have symptoms and signs that corresponded to a recognized clinical diagnosis and were thought to be sufficient to be a major cause of their pain. Twenty-three had a diagnosis other than continuing impingement. Success of a second surgical procedure was significantly greater in non-worker's compensation (WC) patients than in WC patients. Repeat acromioplasties in WC patients have poor results and are not recommended. Seventeen patients had no clear cause for their continuing shoulder tendinitis; however, time and supportive therapy allowed five patients to improve over an average 18-month period. In all categories, WC patients fared poorly, so prognosis must be guarded in this group. Non-WC patients may be helped with repeat surgery following an appropriate diagnosis for the cause of failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number243
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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