Luxatio erecta: the inferior glenohumeral dislocation

J Orthop Trauma. 1990;4(1):19-24.


Luxatio erecta, or inferior glenohumeral dislocation, is a rare shoulder dislocation usually caused by a hyperabduction injury to the arm. We have reviewed the literature consisting of 80 cases of luxatio erecta and also discuss six additional cases that we have treated. The literature shows that either a fracture of the greater tuberosity or a rotator cuff tear was associated with this injury in 80% of patients; 60% of the patients reviewed sustained some degree of neurologic compromise, most commonly to the axillary nerve. These injuries usually resolved; the time for recovery varied from 2 weeks to 1 year. Only 3.3% of the cases demonstrated significant vascular compromise, but this is the highest incidence for any shoulder dislocation. Doppler studies of the affected arm or observation of the patient overnight are recommended because of the potentially disastrous complications of vascular insufficiency. If there is any indication of a vascular problem, immediate arteriogram is indicated. Although usually fairly easily reduced by overhead traction, the lesion is so rare that few physicians are familiar with the technique of reduction. Fluoroscopy was used in our most recent cases and was helpful in obtaining a complete and safe reduction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Radiography
  • Shoulder Dislocation / complications
  • Shoulder Dislocation / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Dislocation / therapy*