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A 29-year-old member asked:

How do you know when surgery is needed for a widening ac joint, i have had the pain for about 4/5 months now. thanks ?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marc Hirsch
Family Medicine 52 years experience
Function and pain: If the separation is interfering with your quality of life or your money making ability and/or if the pain is getting to you, have it checked by an orthopedist. Weigh the success rate against the benefit.
Dr. Shawn Hennigan
Orthopedic Surgery 27 years experience
AC injury?: Need more information. Was there an injury? Any treatment yet, such as rest and nsaids? Any injections not ac joint to ensure that is where pain is coming from?
Dr. Thomas Deberardino
Orthopedic Surgery 32 years experience
Fix pain/instability: Mere widening of your ac (acromioclavicular) joint is not an indication for surgery. Pain from arthritis or osteolysis can cause joint space widening or narrowing and lead to surgery. Trauma or injury can generate instability and widening too (usually with prominence of the end of the clavicle) that can lead to ac joint reconstruction.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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