Anterior dislocation of the shoulder in elderly patients

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1997 Jul;79(4):540-3. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.79b4.7497.


Of 545 consecutive patients with anterior shoulder dislocations, 108 (20%) were aged 60 years or more at the time of injury. We reviewed and radiographed 95 of these elderly patients after a mean follow-up of 7.1 years. Axillary nerve injuries were seen in 9.3% of the 108 patients, but all recovered completely in 3 to 12 months. There were single or multiple recurrences of dislocation in 21 patients (22.1%), but within this group age had no influence on the tendency to redislocate. Tears of the rotator-cuff were diagnosed by imaging studies or clinically in 58 patients (61%), including all who had redislocations. Sixteen patients required surgery. Eight with a single dislocation and a cuff tear had only repair of the torn cuff. Of the eight patients with multiple dislocations requiring operation, five also had a torn cuff and needed either a stabilising procedure and a cuff repair or repair of the cuff only. All patients who were operated on had a satisfactory result, with the exception of those with multiple redislocations and a cuff tear who had repair of the cuff only. Anterior shoulder dislocation in elderly subjects is more common than is generally believed; 20% suffer redislocation and 60% have a cuff tear. Operation may be needed to repair a torn cuff or to stabilise the shoulder. Patients with multiple redislocations will probably require both procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Rupture
  • Shoulder Dislocation / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome