Following non operative treatment for an arthritic AC joint, an AC joint resection may be discussed. This procedure is done as a keyhole operation and involves removing a segment of bone at the end of the clavicle (collarbone). Resection of a painful AC joint is very effective in relieving pain. The resected AC joint is replaced by fibrous scar tissue that takes the place of the worn out, inflammed joint.

In the past there was a tendency to take bone only off the clavicle in order to excise the AC joint. It has become apparent that some of these patients have excessive instability symptoms, especially in an anteroposterior direction due to compromising the posterosuperior capsular ligaments. Arthroscopic resection allows these important posterosuperior ligaments of the AC joint to be preserved avoiding problems with instability. Open surgery will always involve division of these important structures which then need to be repaired once the surgery is completed.

Mr Peter now removes approximately 5mm of bone from the distal clavicle and a small amount of bone from the medial acromion. Doing this greatly helps to avoid instability symptoms in his patients.


The post operative recovery from an AC Joint Resection is typically rapid. A sling is not required, however it can be used to rest the shoulder following the operation for the first few days. Physiotherapy is started immediately after the procedure. Recovery typically occurs within the first six weeks or so following the surgery.

You will normally return for followup at 6 weeks post operatively. A w week appointment may be scheduled to check that everything is going well immediately following the surgery.