Comparison of Scapular Manipulation With External Rotation Method of Reduction of Acute Anterior Shoulder Dislocation for Sedation Requirements and Success Rates

J Spec Oper Med. 2018 Fall;18(3):34-37. doi: 10.55460/W76R-Z4SN.


Background: Anterior shoulder dislocation is a common sports-related musculoskeletal injury. Various methods have been described for reduction of the dislocation. A method that requires less sedation without compromising the success rate is likely to be highly useful in austere and prehospital settings. This study compares scapular manipulation with external rotation method for requirement of sedation and success rates.

Methods: Forty-six patients with anterior shoulder dislocation were allocated alternatively to reduction using either scapular manipulation (SMM) or external rotation (ERM) techniques. The groups were compared for sedation requirements, pain scores, and success rates.

Results: Reductions using SMM had fewer requirements for sedation (13% versus 39%; p < .05) and higher first-pass success rates (87% versus 61%; p < .05) as compared with ERM for anterior shoulder dislocation reduction. The numeric rating score of pain during reduction procedures was less in SMM (mean, 1.65 [standard deviation, 1.6]) than in ERM group (mean, 4.30 [standard deviation, 1.8]; p < .01).

Conclusion: The SMM required less sedation and had higher first-pass success rates than ERM for reduction of anterior shoulder dislocation. The SMM is thus likely to be of advantage in resource-limited austere settings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Orthopedic* / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotation* / adverse effects
  • Scapula
  • Shoulder Dislocation / complications
  • Shoulder Dislocation / therapy*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives