Football Season Prime Time for Serious Shoulder Injuries

Surgical Advances Developed at Hospital for Special Surgery Help Athletes Get Back in the Game

NEW YORK—January 30, 2009

Most people have heard of a dislocated shoulder. A shoulder separation, although less common, can be just as debilitating, according to Dr. Frank Cordasco, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine shoulder injuries at Hospital for Special Surgery. Football season is prime time for such injuries.

A shoulder separation frequently results from a fall or sharp blow to the top of the shoulder. It is one of the most common injuries landing a player in the orthopedic surgeon's office, especially when a quarterback is thrown to the ground. Other common causes of a shoulder separation include bicycle and equestrian accidents and collision sports, such as hockey.

The "separation" occurs when an injury forces the collarbone to move away from the upper portion of the shoulder blade. A severe injury results in a complete tear of one or both of the major ligaments supporting the joint. Surgery is often recommended, especially if the patient wishes to return to an active lifestyle. Dr. Cordasco repairs the injured shoulder using an arthroscopic approach developed at HSS. The technique entails a small one-inch incision and several tiny "keyhole" or portal incisions, instead of the standard five- to seven-inch incision of the traditional operation. The much smaller incisions are beneficial to the patient.

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics and No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2016-2017), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at


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