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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.



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