Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainCase Report

Bilateral Shoulder Dislocation Presenting as a Unilateral Shoulder Dislocation

Brett Auerbach, DO; Adam Bitterman, DO; Cristin Mathew, DO; and William Healy, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: February 26, 2015

Published: August 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(8): 514-517

Shoulder dislocations are a common condition seen by orthopedic surgeons and emergency medicine physicians. Shoulder dislocations typically present unilaterally and are anterior in nature. Bilateral simultaneous posterior shoulder dislocations are typically associated with seizure or electrocution and are more common than bilateral simultaneous anterior dislocations, which occur because of trauma or fall. In a traumatic setting, a shoulder dislocation may be accompanied by a distracting injury, and a thorough examination must be conducted to avoid overlooking concomitant diagnosis. The authors highlight the case of a patient who presented to the emergency department with the rare incidence of traumatic bilateral anterior shoulder dislocations, which resolved after 2 closed reductions. Orthopedic surgery and emergency medicine teams must maintain a high index of suspicion for injury to the contralateral limb to avoid missing pathologic changes due to distracting injuries.

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