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BACKGROUND: Shoulder dislocations are the most common joint dislocations seen in emergency departments. Most traumatic cases are anterior and cause recurrent dislocations. Management options include surgical and conservative treatments. There is a lack of evidence about which method is most effective after the first traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation (TASD). OBJECTIVES: To produce UK age- and sex-specific incidence rates for TASD. To assess whether or not surgery within 6 months of a first-time TASD decreases re-dislocation rates compared with no surgery. To identify clinical predictors of recurrent dislocation. DESIGN: A population-based cohort study of first-time TASD patients in the UK. An initial validation study and subsequent propensity-score-matched analysis to compare re-dislocation rates between surgery and no surgery after a first-time TASD. Prediction modelling was used to identify potential predictors of recurrent dislocation. SETTING: UK primary and secondary care data. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with a first-time TASD between 1997 and 2015. INTERVENTIONS: Stabilisation surgery within 6 months of a first-time TASD (compared with no surgery). Stabilisation surgery within 12 months of a first-time TASD was also carried out as a sensitivity analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Re-dislocation rate up to 2 years after the first TASD. METHODS: Eligible patients were identified from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) (1997-2015). Accuracy of shoulder dislocation coding was internally validated using the CPRD General Practitioner questionnaire service. UK age- and sex-specific incidence rates for TASD were externally validated against rates from the USA and Canada. A propensity-score-matched analysis using linked CPRD and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data compared re-dislocation rates for patients aged 16-35 years, comparing surgery with no surgery. Multivariable Cox regression models for predicting re-dislocation were developed for the surgical and non-surgical cohorts. RESULTS: Shoulder dislocation was coded correctly for 89% of cases in the CPRD [95% confidence interval (CI) 83% to 95%], with a 'primary' dislocation confirmed for 76% of cases (95% CI 67% to 85%). Far fewer patients than expected received stabilisation surgery within 6 months of a first TASD, leading to an underpowered study. Around 20% of re-dislocation rates were observed for both surgical and non-surgical patients. The sensitivity analysis at 12 months also showed little difference in re-dislocation rates. Missing data on risk factors limited the value of the prediction modelling; however, younger age, epilepsy and sex (male) were identified as statistically significant predictors of re-dislocation. LIMITATIONS: Far fewer than the expected number of patients had surgery after a first-time TASD, resulting in an underpowered study. This and residual confounding from missing risk factors mean that it is not possible to draw valid conclusions. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides, for the first time, UK data on the age- and sex-specific incidence rates for TASD. Most TASD occurs in men, but an unexpected increased incidence was observed in women aged > 50 years. Surgery after a first-time TASD is uncommon in the NHS. Re-dislocation rates for patients receiving surgery after their first TASD are higher than previously expected; however, important residual confounding risk factors were not recorded in NHS primary and secondary care databases, thus preventing useful recommendations. FUTURE WORK: The high incidence of TASD justifies investigation into preventative measures for young men participating in contact sports, as well as investigating the risk factors in women aged > 50 years. A randomised controlled trial would account for key confounders missing from CPRD and HES data. A national TASD registry would allow for a more relevant data capture for this patient group. STUDY REGISTRATION: Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (ISAC protocol 15_0260). FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

Original publication




Journal article


Health technol assess

Publication Date





1 - 104


CLINICAL PRACTICE RESEARCH DATALINK, CPRD, HES, INCIDENCE, SHOULDER DISLOCATION, SHOULDER SURGERY, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cohort Studies, Demography, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Reproducibility of Results, Shoulder Dislocation, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom, Young Adult