The diagnostic arthroscopy is felt to be helpful in confirming the diagnosis and identifying other pathology.
Berg et al. reviewed failures of open distal clavicle excision and found that 15 patients had a missed SLAP lesion. Fewer complications, lower infection rate, and decreased surgical time have not been documented in the literature.
Lemos & Tolo reviewed complications resulting from treatment of AC joint pathology. The open technique can often miss other underlying pathology, such as rotator cuff and labral pathology, that may be associated with degenerative changes of the acromioclavicular joint. Therefore, they recommend that even if an open distal clavicle excision is the treatment of choice, an arthroscopic evaluation of the glenohumeral joint be performed at the same time.
Berg EE, Ciullo JV: The SLAP lesion: A cause of failure after distal clavicle resection. Arthroscopy 1997;13:85-89.
PMID:9043609 (Link to Abstract)
Lemos MJ, Tolo ET: Complications of the treatment of acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joint injuries, including instability. Clin Sports Med 2003;22:371-385.
PMID:12825537 (Link to Abstract)