The management of a first episode of anterior shoulder dislocation starts with an analysis of the causative mechanism and a physical examination to establish the diagnosis. Based on the findings, the case can be classified as simple or accompanied with complications, most notably vascular or nerve injuries. Two radiographs perpendicular to each other should be obtained to confirm the diagnosis then repeated after the reduction manoeuvres. Additional imaging studies may be needed to assess concomitant bony lesions (impaction lesions or fractures). External reduction should always be attempted after premedication appropriate for the severity of the pain. General anaesthesia may be necessary. There is no consensus regarding the optimal reduction technique, although the need for gentle manoeuvres that do not cause pain is universally recognised. Immobilisation currently involves keeping the elbow by the side with the arm internally rotated for 3–6weeks depending on patient age. Vessel and nerve injuries are rare but can cause major functional impairments. Follow-up evaluations are in order to check the recovery of normal function, which may be more difficult to achieve in patients with concomitant lesions; and to detect recurrent shoulder instability and rotator cuff lesions. At the acute phase, surgery is indicated only in patients with complications or after failure of the reduction manoeuvres. Shoulder immobilisation with the arm externally rotated and surgical treatment of the first episode are controversial strategies that are discussed herein.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Shoulder, Anterior dislocation, Recurrent dislocation, Rotator cuff, External immobilisation