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AC Joint Reconstructive surgery
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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Sep 13, 2011
portrait <br />
Took out my AC Joint in a downhill mountain bike crash...totally tooled on the the shouler, separated it, tore the ligaments and the clavicle is now floating around and pointing at the sky.

Has anyone had the reconstructive surgery and and idea what the recovery timeline looks like. I know I will miss the end of the rock season but would love to try to catch the remainder of the ice season this year.

thanks for any info you might have on this procedure.
Chris

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By Rik
From Tucson, AZ
Sep 13, 2011
Skull
I have a grade 5 AC separation, and I missed about 2 weeks of climbing before it didn't hurt to bad to climb. I decided not to have surgery, and it doesn't bother me at all after 3 years. Collar bone still sticks up though.

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Sep 13, 2011
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Thanks Rik.

I am seeing the surgeon tomorrow to go over some of my options. The pressure that I am feeling in my clavicle and the soreness in the shoulder after a month leads me to believe that surgery (at least in my case) is probably necessary. I guide, mountain bike, ice climb, tele-ske...so I think my Dr felt that this would probably be the best route to go...but...I am interested in seeing what the prognosis would be if I just left things alone!

Thanks bro
Chris

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By Richard Radcliffe
From Louisville, CO
Sep 13, 2011
Line 11

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Sep 13, 2011
I separated mine a few years ago, but I don't think it was as bad as yours sounds, and I didn't get surgery. I think I was in a sling for about a month, and it pretty much killed an entire climbing season, but since then it hasn't been a problem at all.

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By ascender30
Sep 13, 2011
Chris,

Had the bad separation, got the surgery: went for the kevlar thread wrap instead of the big screw. 2-3 weeks of NOTHING cause it hurts like hell and is weak. Then 4-6 months to get back to where I was before. DO YOUR REHAB!!

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By Arthur E. Gross III
From Hyde Park
Sep 14, 2011
Out of ashes in the gunks
i've separated my ac once and it took a few months to heal, And previously this winter i broke my collar bone and opted out of surgery. For recovery I decided I should learn the sport of climbing. For the collar bone to heal it took a solid 6 months. I still can here stuff grinding around in there but it doesn't hurt anymore during activity

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Sep 14, 2011
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Thanks guys!

We will see what happens with the conversation today and i will keep you posted on the results. I would rather avoid the knife, but after close to 5 weeks...there is still significant swelling, pain and crunching and squishing going on in there! Nasty!!!

~c

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Sep 16, 2011
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So it appears that I have torn two of the three ligaments holding my clavicle in place and thus my clavicle is out of posterior alignment. the ligament attatching the collar bone to the corocoidal process is still intact (albeit a bit stretched out and stressed). Still tons of inflamation around the injury itself, but my surgeon suggested three weeks of intense PT and then check back in before weilding the scalpel. We will see how things go...still bummed about how uncomfortable this thing is after close to 5 weeks following the accident.

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By Unassigned User
Sep 16, 2011
asset-usa.org/Guidelines/Modif...

I have a feeling this is the reconstructive technique the orthopod may be recommending. See the pdf link above. Although, the document is old and there may be a new and improved technique.

Here's a newer one, this one doesn't make me cringe like the other procedure did. It would reinforce the coracoclavicular.

deviceinnovation.com/index.php...

I'd do the PT and wait it out. The coracoclavicular ligament can tighten back up, and the acromioclavicular could scar up and get a little stability back in that manner depending on how displaced it is now. If still having pain, I'd do the Munford (which is mentioned in the pdf article above) and with an intact coracoclavicular, just leave that ligament alone.

I sustained a grade 2 AC seperation bench pressing. :) I was only a cyclist at that time. Raced mountain bikes. It took 6 months to not hurt all the time and then felt it off and on for a couple years. I was a teen at the time. I did zero therapy.

Take care. Do your PT.

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Sep 16, 2011
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Thanks Jen...yes, my surgeon was referring to the tightrope technique. It looks pretty cool...but I would certainly rather aviod any kind of surgery if I can. PT starts on the 26th which seems late, but the only time they can see me. I will definitely be religious with it. I had ankle reconstruction back in 1996 due to a basketball injury and I was up and walking in less than 2 months. I had a great PT team and went for treatment 3X a week.

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Nov 9, 2011
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going for a second opinion. I am currently being steered away from surgery, but I have been kicking ass with rehab, still climbing, biking, running and 8 weeks out and I can't seem to get past this plateau that I hit somewhere around the 4th week following the injury. Push ups still hurt like hell, crepidus is nasty..lots of popping and grinding going on in there and the joint itself just doesn't seem that stable still? Frustrated and a little disappointed in the recovery thus far.

Any suggestions or words of encouragement? :)
Chris

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By john strand
From southern colo
Nov 9, 2011
Chris- I'm sure that ice climbing will take care of this !!!

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Nov 9, 2011
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LOL John...I am sure that would work...that and a bottle of 12 year old from the Mother Country!!!! ;)

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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 10, 2011
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3
Hope youre good for Ice Season Man!

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Nov 10, 2011
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So do I superkick...I need the cash!!! lol :P

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Dec 6, 2011
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Going in this Thursday for a second opinion. Been pretty faithful with PT and have been climbing rock and trying not to baby the injury too much, but I seem to have reached a plateau and the discomfort is still pretty significant. I am bummed out...the bump is still rediculous looking...I hate it!!!

I am hearing that surgery may or may not correct it or get it back to close to as good as it was prior to the injury, so this is a difficult decision to make. Some have had it and wish that they hadn't and others swear by it...who to trust???

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Dec 9, 2011
portrait <br />
Turns out I have completely torn the three ligaments of the AC joint and have a partial tear of the labrum...so I will have open surgery on the AC and they are going to scope the labrum going in from the back of the shoulder. I am electing to have it at the end of February so I can at least get some ice climbing in this season. Pretty bummed out, but my Dr. seems to think that we can get this thing back to close to what it was prior to the surgery. We will see...

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By dannl
Dec 9, 2011
Good luck, get your doc to take some pictures while he's in there.

:)

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Dec 10, 2011
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dannl wrote:
Good luck, get your doc to take some pictures while he's in there. :)


I will. I would love to get some video footage! ;)

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By JChepes
From Chocorua, NH
Dec 17, 2011
Chris,

I had a grade 2 separation in May when i took a slam on my skateboard.
After three months it was almost fully healed and then boom! Fell off my board again on the same shoulder! I'm 4 months into it agin and it's slowly getting better.

Being an arborist, the healing time has been greatly extended due mainly to one arming my chainsaw. Working through an injury, my favorite! Took PT for @2 months but had lousy results due to my inability to rest it.

Chris it sounds like your trying to rush it. Believe me, i've been trying like hell! This injury just needs rest and lots of it. I tore my labrum in my left shoulder and the doctor wanted to cut me open. I hesitated, did PT, tried taking it easy and it went away and does not bother me years later. If you've already gone under the knife i hope it works out for you. Let me know how things end up?

Good luck with ice season. We're getting a slow start so it's been helping my recovery time! And no i will never put down the skateboard....

John

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Dec 17, 2011
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Thanks CHippa!

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By Scott Rice
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 3, 2012
Bouldering in Queen's Creek, AZ
Hey Chris,

In quite a similar situation as yourself; 5 Nov I went down while kiteboarding. Mine is a grade 3, labral tear, ruptured shoulder capsule and dislocation where the clavicle meets the sternum. I opted for surgery and had the tightrope procedure done on 15 Nov.

I've been going to PT twice a week and progress has been great. I have however hit somewhat of a plateau in the last couple weeks. Pain is moderate and usually worst when I wake up after sleeping on it.

My range of motion is around %80 of what my other shoulder is but its very weak and any type of resistance has me cringing. I have yet to get on rock, only ride a road bike every other day or so. I was told that i cant perform any pec, biceps or trap exercises for another 2 weeks (8 weeks after surgery).

I do believe that the surgery was the best course of action for me. I'm 24 and in great shape so thought that the recovery would be best if I went for the surgery. I don't regret it and honestly think that this will be the best way to regain the strength and ROM that I had prior to the accident considering the depth of the injury.

Hope that it works out for you. If you have any more questions about the surgery or anything at all let me know and I'll answer what I can and ask my doc if I can't.

Cheers and good luck.

-SR

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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Jan 3, 2012
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Thanks Scott!

Sounds very similar. My surgery will be a full reconstruction where they will attempt to reconstruct the torn ligaments on the AC and then scope the labrum and anchor it down via 3 anchor points. From what I understand, this procedure and this Dr. has seen some great results in Olympic and professional athletes, but I will be paying for it in recovery as it takes close to a year to fully get back the strength and range of motion. Given the situation now...I will take the chance.

Good luck with your recovery bro and hope you are back out there 100% soon!

Chris

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By Dara
From Double Bubble
Jan 8, 2012
The Gurgler (the climb, not me!)
Chris--
Good luck with your surgery. I had a very similar injury (bike wreck) and surgery and the rehab/recovery was tough. You are going to be pretty uncomfortable for a while, but that will go away. Whatever you do, do NOT try to rush your recovery-- it will only set you back. Give it 6 months (or whatever your surgeon says...)

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By D Condit
From Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 7, 2012
North Maroon
So did you have the surgery? How's it going?

I just dislocated my left shoulder to include a bonus 2 AC separation from a hockey incident. I had to have open surgery (capsule shift) several years ago on my right shoulder for chronic dislocation/instability due to previous hockey injuries. Rehab was very long. About three years later I crashed my dirt bike and got a 3 AC separation on that same shoulder. I chose not to have anything done, and it healed fine (bone sticks up but no big).

I'm debating what to do now. My current injury is more painful. I've heard some pluses and minuses on repairing AC separations and wanted to hear from someone with recent experience. Any regrets?

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