What is shoulder separation?

Shoulder separation (or AC separation) occurs when the ligaments that attach the collarbone to the shoulder blade are stretched or torn. The AC joint is directly under the skin and largely absent of surrounding soft tissue so, when the collarbone separates from the shoulder blade, the injury results in visible tenting under the skin. Not only is the AC separation cosmetically apparent, it is also quite painful for the patient.

man cycling | shoulder separation

What causes shoulder separation?

    • Falls that directly impact the patient’s shoulder, injuring the ligaments that surround and stabilize the AC joint
    • Falling directly onto an outstretched arm, injuring the ligaments that surround and stabilize the AC joint
    • Injuries associated with contact sports such as football or hockey
    • Cycling injuries (flipping over handlebars)

Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized shoulder surgeon. His grant-funded research on AC joint injuries has been published in peer-reviewed publications. With 25+ years of specialized expertise in orthopedic sports medicine and full membership in the prestigious American Shoulder and Elbow Society (ASES), Dr. Karas is equipped with the knowledge and skill necessary to provide you with relief from your painful shoulder injury.

Dr. Karas Has Solutions

    • Although many AC joint injuries can be treated without surgery, Dr. Karas frequently recommends fixation of the AC joint for people who have a desire to return to sports and fully active lifestyles as soon as they possibly can
    • During surgery, Dr. Karas most commonly uses a stainless steel plate or sutures to stabilize the AC joint and to allow the ligaments to heal
    • The surgery results in restored length, less deformity, and a faster return to sports and normal activities