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The shoulder joint is very movable, but as a result can dislocate easily. Often when this happens the lining of the shoulder joint is pulled off the bone, meaning dislocations can reoccur. This is called a Bankart tear.

Some patients have no further problems after a dislocation. But many suffer recurrent instability.

What happens during stabilisation surgery?

Shoulder surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic. Often the nerves to the shoulder are also numbed (called a block) to improve pain control. The procedure can be done arthroscopically (key hole surgery) using several very small incisions or (in particular if bone has been worn away from the socket) one open incision. The torn shoulder lining is repaired back to the bone. If bone is missing from the socket, a piece of bone from the front of the shoulder can be used to replace it (the Latarjet procedure). Be sure and discuss what procedure will be used with your consultant.

After your stabilisation

Immediately after your surgery you will be taken to the recovery area. Staff will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. If you are in any pain be sure and tell the recovery room staff. When you are stable a nurse will take you to your room. Your arm will be in a sling.

Back in your room

Once back in your room, our nursing team will continue to check on you to make sure you are recovering well. After you’ve recovered from any effects of the anaesthetic, you can have something to eat and drink. Be sure and tell us if you are in any pain.

Our Healthcare Team will help you get out of bed and begin to move around. A physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help you regain strength and flexibility.

Going home after shoulder stabilisation

If you have arthroscopic surgery you may be able to go home the same day of the procedure. Patients who have open surgery may need to spend one night in hospital. If a procedure has been done on the bone you may have an x-ray. You will be given medication to control any post surgery pain. Any stitches or staples will be removed 10 - 14 days after your operation.

You should continue to do the passive exercises as instructed by the physiotherapist until your follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Six to eight weeks after your surgery you may be given more active exercises and stretches. You should not engage in any strenuous exercise or activity without checking with your surgeon or physiotherapist.

Be sure and discuss your return to work with your surgeon.

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following shoulder stabilisation. As with any surgery there can be complications:

Specific complications of stabilisation:

  • Stiffness and restricted movement
  • Failure of the repair and recurrent instability 
  • Nerve damage
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