Shoulder Dislocation

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the top of your arm bone (humerus) moves out of the socket in your shoulder blade.

Shoulder Anatomy

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • Manual reduction treatment may be painful. You may need manual reduction more than once to fix your shoulder. If you have surgery, you may have pain and stiffness in your shoulder. You may get an infection in your surgery site. Tissues, nerves, and blood vessels around your shoulder joint may be damaged during manual reduction or surgery. Even with treatment, your shoulder may dislocate again.

  • A dislocated shoulder may cause damage to nerves and blood vessels. Without treatment, the pain, weakness, and numbness in your injured shoulder and arm may not go away. Your arm and shoulder may not move as well as they did before your injury. Over time, the cartilage in your joint may break down, causing osteoarthritis. Cartilage is the tough tissue that covers the ends of your bones and joints. Osteoarthritis can lead to more pain in your arm and shoulder.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

  • Muscle relaxer: This helps the tight muscles in your shoulder relax.

  • Sedatives: These can help you stay calm and relaxed during manual reduction.

  • Anesthesia: This is given as a shot to numb your injured shoulder during manual reduction. You may also be given anesthesia to keep you asleep during your treatment.

Tests:

  • X-ray: An x-ray is a picture taken of your shoulder to look at the bones in your shoulder and for damage to any other tissues.

  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your shoulder. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your shoulder. An MRI may show bone placement and broken bones. Your caregiver will also look for tissue damage. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • Arthrogram: An arthrogram is an x-ray that is taken after dye is injected into your injured joint. This test is used to look at the bones and muscles in your shoulder joint. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

Treatment:

  • Manual reduction: Caregivers use their hands to move your dislocated humerus back into place. Weights may also be used to help pull your humerus into place.

  • Sling, splint, or brace: You may need to wear a sling or splint after your shoulder dislocation is treated. Slings and splints limit your shoulder movement while supporting it. You may need to wear a shoulder brace to protect your shoulder from injury after you have been treated.

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to repair damaged tissues around your shoulder joint. You may also need a bone graft to repair your shoulder. A bone graft is artificial bone used to replace your damaged bone. You may also need surgery if your shoulder dislocates often.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Shoulder Dislocation (Inpatient Care)

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