Public Release: 

For type V AC joint injuries, early surgery may not be the best approach

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Las Vegas, NV - Early surgery may not be the best treatment option for patients with Type V AC joint injuries, according to new research from Tripler Army Medical Center. The study, presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day, showed military personnel returned to duty faster when surgery was not performed.

The final study group focused on 24 patients, with 7 receiving surgical treatment and 17 receiving non-surgical therapy. Of the non-surgery group, 8 patients (53%) returned to active duty an average of 90.3 days without limitations. Of the group receiving immediate surgery 5 patients (83%) returned at an average of 184 days. Of those in non-surgery group who elected for surgery after a trial of physical therapy, 100% returned to full active duty.

"Injuries to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint can completely remove a person from activity," noted corresponding author Major Kevin P. Krul, MD, from Tripler Army Medical Center. "Knowing that patients are having success without surgery and with delayed surgery after a trial of physical therapy can help us better plan treatment in the future."

The AC joint connects at the top of the shoulder, and is at the center of approximately 3.2% of all shoulder injuries.


The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids. For more information on AOSSM or the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, visit or

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