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Acromioclavicular Joint Injection

  • Purpose – To treat pain and inflammation in the acromioclavicular joint. The cap of the shoulder and the collarbone form the acromioclavicular joint. Pain and inflammation may be caused by injury, athletic overuse or overworking the joint.
  • Procedure Overview – Steroid (cortisone) shots are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in the shoulder over time and the anesthetic is used to provide immediate pain relief.  Injections deliver anesthetic and anti-inflammatory solution directly to the joint.  This procedure may, or may not be done with image guidance.
  • Before the procedure – The anti-inflammatory solution may increase your blood sugars.  If you have a history of issues with elevated blood sugars then you should discuss this with your primary care doctor, or endocrinologist.
  • Details – The procedure begins with the sterilization of the skin where the injection will take place. Once the accurate location of the injection is determined, the anesthetic and anti-inflammatory solutions are injected directly into the acromioclavicular space.
  • After the procedure – There may be numbness where the injection took place. It may take 2-3 hours for the pain to subside. Redness and a feeling of warmth may be experienced. Apply ice as needed to relieve any pain from the injection and protect the injection area for a couple of days by avoiding strenuous activity. It is important to be aware of heightened pain, redness and swelling that lasts more than two days.
  • Potential complications Osteonecrosis (death of nearby bone), infection, nerve damage, thinning of skin and tissue surrounding the injection site, pain and inflammation of the joint, tendon weakening or rupture, osteoporosis (nearby bone thinning), and skin discoloration around the injection site. Due to potential complications, physicians will limit the number of injections given to a patient based on the joint and the reason for treatment.