Kocher's method of shoulder reduction

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is a complex manoeuvre which has recently fallen into disfavour due to it's potential complications compared to those of other methods.

The details of the method are outlined below:

  • flexion of the elbow to a right angle
  • traction in the line of the humerus
  • external rotation of the arm: this brings the head of the humerus to face forwards
  • the elbow is pulled across the body: this adducts the humerus and disengages the humeral head
  • internal rotation of the arm: this lets the humeral head fall back into the glenoid

It is necessary to x-ray the shoulder to confirm the reduction.

Complications include:

  • nerve damage (greater risk than other techniques)
  • fracture of the humerus

Click here for video of Kocher's manoevre