Inflammations of these two small, but very important, joints are very painful and affect the mobility of the whole shoulder. Arthritis of the AC joint presents a typical pattern on x-rays. Treatment is simple. The joint can be resected, i.e. trimmed back. During the operation the joint mucosa and meniscus are removed, leaving the ligaments intact. The results of surgery are very good and patients are highly satisfied.
By contrast, surgical treatment of SC joint arthritis is difficult and not always satisfactory. Consequently, every attempt is made to avoid surgery by first attempting to control the symptoms with drugs, physiotherapy or alternative medicine. Surgical correction of the joint remains the final option as the operation is difficult and rehabilitation is protracted.