Acromioclavicular joint cyst in ASA 3-4 patients. Whether and how quickly it recurs after aspiration and steroid injection

Published online: Jun 27 2016


From the Dept of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Shoulder and Elbow Unit, University Sapienza, Rome, Italy


We observed the clinical course, in the short-medium term, of patients with voluminous type II acromioclavicular (AC) joint cyst who underwent aspiration and steroid injection regarded as the only possible treatment to avoid possible skin complications. Four patients (7.4% of cases described in literature) (3F-1M ; mean age 83 years, range : 78-87 years) with a voluminous (> 7 cm) oval, no mobile, no fluctuant cyst overlying the AC joint, were retrospectively observed. The patients, judged by the anesthesiologist as ASA 3-4 patients, were merely submitted to cyst aspiration and steroid injection. The content of the cyst was microscopically analysed. All patients were clinically evaluated on the day of aspiration and after 14- 30 days and after 1 year. Shoulder function and pain intensity were analysed with Constant score and VAS. We were able to aspirate 80-150 ml of amorphous joint fluid. At the first follow-up, all patients had a recurrence of the cyst, a lower grade of tension of the skin overlying the cyst and also a very little decreasing of pain intensity. After a month from aspiration, the cysts of the 4 patients had the same size as that present before aspiration. The range of motion, the average value of VAS and Constant were similar to those recorded before aspiration. In no case signs of infection or draining sinus occurred. Aspiration is a useless practice. However it is still a motive for discussion if the reduced suffering of the skin overlying the cyst after the aspiration has avoided, or simply postponed, an imminent complication.