Methods used to assess the severity of acromioclavicular joint separations in Japan: a survey

Katsumi Takase, Yukihiko Hata, Yutaka Morisawa, Masafumi Goto, Sakae Tanaka, Junichiro Hamada, Kenji Hayashida, Yasunari Fujii, Toru Morihara, Nobuyuki Yamamoto, Hiroaki Inui, Hiroyuki Shiozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) separations, patient characteristics determine the indications for surgery. However, in Japan, classification methods used to assess the severity of ACJ separations differ between institutions, and even within a classification method, different interpretations can lead to different assessments of severity. Therefore, in this study, we conducted an email survey of Japan Shoulder Society (JSS) members regarding their assessment methods for ACJ separation severity. Methods: A questionnaire about methods for assessing the severity of ACJ separations was emailed to JSS members (1655) including 59 JSS councilors. The survey focused on diagnostic imaging methods, classifications of severity assessments, and methods of assessing severity. Results: In total, 183 responses were received. All respondents used an anteroposterior view of the ACJ. Severity assessments were classified by the Tossy classification (57 respondents), Rockwood classification (141 respondents), and other classifications (7 respondents) including duplication. Of the 141 respondents using the Rockwood classification, 119 diagnosed type III as ACJ dislocation when the inferior clavicle border translated above the superior acromial border, whereas 56 used the coracoclavicular distance. However, to diagnose type V, 118 respondents used the coracoclavicular distance whereas 38 used palpation. To diagnose type IV, 57 respondents considered all cases in which the clavicle translated posterior to the acromion, even when vertical ACJ dislocation occurred simultaneously. However, 88 respondents did so in the presence of posterior clavicle displacement and ACJ subluxation. Conclusion: The Rockwood classification is commonly used for severity assessments in Japan; however, there is some disagreement regarding the assessment for the diagnosis of type IV. Methods to diagnose both superior and posterior translation of the clavicle need further debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-245
Number of pages4
JournalJSES International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Acromioclavicular joint separations
  • Experts
  • Survey Study
  • posterior displacement
  • severity assessment
  • vertical displacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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