Comparing the Anatomical Landmarks Versus the Coracoid-Based Landmarks Techniques for Coracoclavicular Stabilization After High-Grade Acromioclavicular Injury: A Biomechanical Study

Orthop J Sports Med. 2022 Nov 15;10(11):23259671221132541. doi: 10.1177/23259671221132541. eCollection 2022 Nov.


Background: In acute high-grade acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries, the aim of treatment is robust reduction and stabilization of the joint. The anatomical landmarks method is most commonly used for stabilization, but loss of reduction often occurs because of the suture tunnels.

Purpose/hypothesis: The purpose was to evaluate and compare the stability of coracoclavicular (CC) stabilization using the anatomical landmarks and coracoid-based landmarks techniques in treating a high-grade AC joint injury. It was hypothesized that stabilization using coracoid-based landmarks would provide better stability.

Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: Twenty fresh-frozen cadaveric shoulders (8 male and 2 female pairs) were randomized into 2 operative technique groups: 10 shoulders in the anatomical landmarks group and 10 shoulders in the coracoid-based landmarks group. The CC ligaments and AC capsule were cut at the midlevel, and CC stabilization and AC capsule repair were performed. For the anatomical landmarks technique, two 2.5-mm clavicular tunnels were created at 25 and 45 mm from the AC joint, while for the coracoid-based landmarks technique, two 2.5-mm clavicular tunnels were drilled using the medial and lateral borders of the coracoid base to choose the tunnel sites. Before injury creation and after stabilization, each shoulder underwent a loading force of 70 N in the superior and anteroposterior directions, and the displacement distance and stiffness were compared between the 2 techniques using the paired t test.

Results: The mean difference in displacement before and after stabilization was higher in the anatomical landmarks technique than the coracoid-based landmarks technique (1.82 ± 3.52 vs -0.18 ± 4.78 mm in the superior direction and 7.47 ± 9.35 vs 1.76 ± 3.91 mm in the anteroposterior direction), but none of the differences in displacement or stiffness were statistically significant between the groups.

Conclusion: No significant biomechanical differences in displacement or stiffness were seen between the anatomical landmarks technique and the coracoid-based landmarks technique.

Clinical relevance: Either stabilization technique can be utilized for repair of the CC ligaments in an acute AC injury setting.

Keywords: acromioclavicular joint; coracoclavicular stabilization; injury.