Get access

Scapular manipulation for reduction of anterior shoulder dislocation without analgesia: Results of a prospective study


  • Elham Pishbin, Emergency Medicine Specialist; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. Ehsan Bolvardi, Emergency Medicine Specialist; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. Koorosh Ahmadi, Emergency Medicine Specialist; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine.

Dr Elham Pishbin. Number 16, Koohsangi 4th Street, Mashhad 9174658551, Iran. E-mail:,


Objectives:  To the best of knowledge, this was the first study of scapular manipulation technique (SMT) in Asia. We conducted this prospective study to report our experiences of reducing anterior shoulder dislocation by SMT without analgesia in a large study group in Iran.

Methods:  Scapular manipulation technique was applied to 111 patients presenting with anterior shoulder dislocation to the ED of the largest teaching hospital in north-east of Iran between January 2009 and January 2010. Reduction was performed without medication and if unsuccessful, the second attempt was carried out with i.v. injection of midazolam. We also evaluated the pain experienced by the patients immediately after reduction attempt.

Results:  The study consisted of 112 dislocations (one patient had bilateral dislocation). We achieved a success rate of 87.5% without medication at the first attempt and 97.3% overall. In total, 98.2% of dislocations were reduced in less than 1 min. The success rate was significantly lower in the presence of greater tuberosity fractures and also in late presentations (>6 h after trauma). We showed a success rate of 100% in recurrent dislocations. Some 81.1% of the patients reported no pain or mild pain. No complications were observed.

Conclusion:  The results of our study showed that SMT even without medication is a safe, rapid and relatively painless technique in reducing anterior shoulder dislocation in the ED that might reduce medical resource utilization and can be cost-effective.