Ultrasound Detects Shoulder Dislocation After Birth Injury

Study finds screening at 3 to 6 months of age detects most cases
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Ultrasound can be used to detect a posterior shoulder dislocation in infants 3 to 6 months old with a permanent brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI), according to a study in the January issue of Radiology.

Tiina H. Pöyhiä, M.D., of the Helsinki Medical Imaging Center in Finland, and colleagues performed ultrasonography to screen for posterior shoulder subluxation in 132 infants with BPBI at various times up to 12 months of age.

The researchers found that posterior shoulder subluxation of the humeral head developed in one-third of the 27 patients with permanent BPBI that failed to heal in the first year. Posterior subluxation was detected by ultrasound in 55 percent of patients at 3 months of age and in 89 percent of patients at 6 months of age.

"Ultrasonography is a fast and useful tool for diagnosis of posterior subluxation of the humeral head, and examination of the glenohumeral joint should be performed at 3 and 6 months of age in infants with BPBI if symptoms persist," the authors conclude.

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