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Anterior Surgical Approaches to the Shoulder

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The majority of shoulder surgery is performed via the anterior or anterolateral aspect of the shoulder joint. The deltopectoral approach is the workhouse approach to the shoulder for use in shoulder stabilisation, arthroplasty and fracture fixation. There are several modifications to this approach to increase exposure, such as coracoid or clavicle osteotomy or anterior deltoid release. A detailed discussion of the surgical anatomy is presented with diagrammatic representation of the key points. The important neurovascular anatomy for the various extensile procedures and manoeuvres aimed at releasing the joint are also discussed in detail.


  • Shoulder approach
  • Shoulder arthroplasty
  • Delto-pectoral
  • Deltoid splitting
  • Clavicle osteotomy

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-45719-1_37
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Special thanks to Jim and Jodie Kelly, Medical Engineering and Research Facility, Queensland University of Technology, for their generous assistance with cadaveric specimens.

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Correspondence to Mark Ross MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA .

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Ross, M., Hirpara, K., Pinedo, M., Gutierrez, V. (2015). Anterior Surgical Approaches to the Shoulder. In: Bain, G., Itoi, E., Di Giacomo, G., Sugaya, H. (eds) Normal and Pathological Anatomy of the Shoulder. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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