Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations)

Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations), Knee & Shoulder InstituteShoulder trauma or dislocations and fractures of the shoulder may occur due to injuries resulting from a fall onto the shoulder or accidents that fracture the shoulder blade or collar bone. Shoulder injuries are common, and nearly everyone injures their shoulder at some point in life.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide treatments for shoulder trauma to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding communities.

Types of Shoulder Injuries


A fracture refers to a broken bone. Shoulder fractures commonly involve the collar bone, the top of the upper arm bone, or the shoulder blade.


A dislocation takes place when the bones on the opposite sides of a joint do not line up. A dislocation of the collar bone joint is known as a separated shoulder. Another type of dislocation can disrupt the connection between the breastbone and the clavicle. The ball and socket joint of the shoulder can be dislocated toward the front or the back.

Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries involve tears of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and joint capsule of the shoulder, which may include labral tears and rotator cuff tears.

Treatment of Shoulder Fracture

Clavicle Fractures

Clavicle fractures are usually treated without surgery. If a compound fracture has occurred or the bone is severely out of place, a surgery may be required.

Proximal Humerus Fractures

If the bone fragments have not been displaced, the fracture of proximal humerus can be treated without surgery. Surgery may be necessary if the fragments have moved out of position.

Scapula Fractures

Scalpula fractures are often treated without surgery. The treatment will involve immobilization of the shoulder with a sling, pain medications, and ice therapy. Only about 10 to 20 percent of scalpula fractures will require surgery.

Treatment of Shoulder Separation

In case of a shoulder separation, the treatment is based on how severe the injury is, what is the direction of the separation, and what are the physical requirements of the patient. If the shoulder separation is less severe, it is mostly possible to avoid surgery.

Severe separations that occur in the upward direction or dislocations in the downward or backward directions will generally require surgery. The surgical treatment will involve repair of the ligaments. Those in the profession of manual labor or professional athletes may often be treated with surgery. However, the results of the surgery may be unpredictable, depending on the specific case.

Treatment of Shoulder Dislocation

The initial shoulder dislocation treatment involves putting the joint back in the socket. This is performed with the patient under mild sedation and IV pain medications. The surgeon will pull on the shoulder until the joint is realigned, and reduction is confirmed on an x-ray.

The shoulder is then placed in a sling or a special brace. Younger patients or those who experience repeated dislocations and persistent instability will usually require surgery. Surgery will involve repair of the torn soft tissue. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394

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