Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies comparing cohorts of patients were eligible for inclusion. Prospective randomised studies and retrospective study designs were included.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies in which operative methods of treating grade III AC separations were compared with non-operative methods were eligible for inclusion. The operative interventions included were AC pinning, distal clavicular excision, fascial weave, Weaver-Dunn, coracoclavicular fixation and the Bosworth methods. The non-operative methods included were use of slings, arm casts, bandage, early range of motion, splints, taping and physiotherapy. Follow-up varied from 5.7 months to 13 years.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients with grade III AC joint separations defined using the Tossy and Allman classification were eligible for inclusion.
Outcomes assessed in the review
There were no specific inclusion criteria for the outcomes. The outcomes assessed were the results of scales designed for individual studies (evaluating factors such as pain, stiffness, radiographic appearance motion, strength and function), subjective ratings of good, fair or poor outcome (based on pain, motion and ability to carry heavy objects), subjective answers to questions (about pain, strength and ability to throw) and strength measured by cable tensiometer.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
One reviewer selected papers for the review.