Medialized Clavicular Bone Tunnel Position Predicts Failure After Anatomic Coracoclavicular Ligament Reconstruction in Young, Active Male Patients

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Recent radiographic data have suggested that medialized conoid tunnel placement greater than 25% of absolute clavicular length is correlated with early failure after anatomic coracoclavicular ligament reconstructions. A comparison with a larger active duty military cohort of clinical and radiographic outcomes can serve as a basis for standardizing surgical technique.


To establish the ideal radiographic tunnel position for anatomic coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction and to elucidate variables associated with early loss of reduction and ability to return to active-duty military service.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


A retrospective review of the military's electronic medical record between the years 2000 and 2013 was performed. All anatomic coracoclavicular reconstructions at a single institution were included for analysis, and nonanatomic or revision reconstructions were excluded. Radiographic failure was defined as 6 mm of superior clavicle displacement on immediate postoperative films.


A cohort of 38 patients underwent 39 anatomic coracoclavicular reconstructions. Average follow-up time was 26 months (range, 1.2-92 months). A total of 20 radiographic failures were identified, with an average conoid tunnel ratio of 0.27. When conoid tunnel ratios were compared with a reference ratio of 0.20 to 0.25, increased risk of failure was statistically significant with lateralization greater than 0.20 (P = .018; odds ratio [OR] = 40 [95% CI, 1.05-999.06]) or with medialization of 0.251 to 0.30 (P = .002; OR = 39 [95% CI, 1.58-944.36]) or greater than 0.30 (P = .029; OR = 21 [95% CI, 0.77-562.15]). Medialization of the trapezoid position greater than 0.16 (vs a range of 0.13-0.16) was also found to be significant for failure (P < .023; OR = 8 [95% CI, 1.33-48.18]). However, these significant findings did not correlate with symptoms or ability to return to duty (P > .05).


The optimal technique for treating acromioclavicular separations has yet to be determined. Recently, anatomic coracoclavicular reconstruction has demonstrated biomechanical superiority to previously described methods. The findings of optimal tunnel positioning in anatomic reconstructions from this large active-duty military cohort can assist preoperative planning to reduce failure rates when treating these difficult injuries.

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