Z Orthop Unfall
DOI: 10.1055/a-1219-8342
Original Article/Originalarbeit

Innovative Surgical Concept for Septic Sternoclavicular Arthritis: Case Presentation of a Simultaneous Joint Resection and Stabilization with Gracilis Tendon Graft Including Literature Review

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Marek Hanhoff
Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, DIAKOVERE Friederikenstift, Hanover
Gunnar Jensen
Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, DIAKOVERE Friederikenstift, Hanover
Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, DIAKOVERE Friederikenstift, Hanover
Helmut Lill
Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, DIAKOVERE Friederikenstift, Hanover
› Author Affiliations


Introduction Septic arthritis of the sternoclavicular joint (SCJ) is a rarity in everyday surgical practice with 0.5 – 1% of all joint infections. Although there are several risk factors for the occurrence of this disease, also healthy people can sometimes be affected. The clinical appearance is very variable and ranges from unspecific symptoms such as local indolent swelling, redness or restricted movement of the affected shoulder girdle to serious consequences (mediastinitis, sepsis, jugular vein thrombosis). Together with the low incidence and the unfamiliarity of the disease among practicing doctors in other specialties, this often results in a delay in the diagnosis, which in addition to a significant reduction in the quality of life can also have devastating consequences for the patient.

Patient and Method According to a stage-dependent procedure, the therapy strategies range from antibiotic administration only to radical resection of the SC joint and other affected structures of the chest wall in severe cases with the following necessity for flap reconstruction. The aspect of possible post-interventional instability after resection of the SCJ receives little or no attention in the current literature. In the present case report of a 51-year-old, otherwise healthy gentleman with isolated monoarthritis of the right SCJ with Escherichia coli (E. coli) shortly after two prostatitis episodes, the possibility of a new surgical approach with a one-stage eradication and simultaneous stabilization of the SCJ is presented. Therefore, a joint resection including extensive debridement is performed while leaving the posterior joint capsule and inserting an antibiotic carrier. In the same procedure, the SCJ is then stabilized with an autologous gracilis tendon graft by using the “figure of eight” technique, which has become well established particularly for anterior instabilities of the SCJ in recent years.

Results and Conclusion One year after operative therapy, the patient presented symptom-free with an excellent clinical result (SSV 90%, CS89 points, CSM 94 points, TF 11 points, DASH 2.5 points). It is concluded that in selected cases with an infection restricted to the SCJ without major abscessing in the surrounding soft tissues, the demonstrated procedure leads to good and excellent clinical results with stability of the joint. If the focus of infection and germ are known, stabilization using an autologous graft can be carried out under antibiotic shielding. To the best of the authorsʼ knowledge, this surgical procedure has not yet been described in the current literature. Depending on the extent of the resection, an accompanying stabilization of the SCJ should be considered to achieve stable conditions and an optimal clinical outcome.

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 September 2020 (online)

© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York