Sternoclavicular Reconstruction in the Young Active Patient: Risk Factor Analysis and Clinical Outcomes at Short-Term Follow-up

Nicholas Kusnezov, John C. Dunn, Jeffrey M. Delong, Brian R. Waterman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the functional outcomes in young, active individuals after sternoclavicular (SC) joint reconstruction. Design: Level IV, case series. Setting: United States military hospitals, 2008-2012. Patients/Participants: Retrospective review of all consecutive patients from the Military Health System Management Analysis and Reporting Tool was performed. Patients who underwent other open-shoulder procedures (eg, acromioclavicular joint reconstruction), those of nonmilitary or retired status, and patients with under 12-month minimum follow-up without medical separation were excluded from further analysis. Intervention: Open reconstruction of SC joint dislocation. Main Outcome Measures: Primary outcomes of interest were clinical failure and medical separation due to persistent shoulder girdle dysfunction. Demographic data, surgical technique, outcomes, complications, and occupational military outcomes were recorded. Results: Fourteen patients, with an average age of 26 years, experienced 8 anterior (57.1%) and 6 posterior (42.9%) SC joint dislocations. Four patients (28.6%) presented with dysphagia or dyspnea, and 10 patients (71.4%) had a missed diagnosis with an average of 13 months until diagnosis. Twelve of 14 (85.7%) patients underwent figure-of-eight tendon reconstruction, and 10 (71.4%) were able to return to full active military duty at an average 26.8 ± 12.9 months follow-up. There were 6 complications in 5 patients (35.7%), whereas 2 (14.3%) reported persistent instability and 2 (14.3%) required reoperation. Conclusions: SC joint dislocations are rare injuries that are frequently missed on clinical presentation in this study. However, acute or delayed surgical reconstruction may afford predictable rates of return to function in young active military service members. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e111-e117
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • military
  • reconstruction
  • sternoclavicular joint dislocation


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