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Shoulder Stabilisation surgery

Shoulder stabilisation surgery may be considered as a treatment option for those patients who experience recurrent dislocations of their shoulder. The aim of shoulder stabilisation surgery is to prevent further dislocation of the shoulder joint and thus minimise any further damage to the shoulder joint and potential shoulder joint arthritis in the future.

The shoulder joint is a shallow ball and socket type joint with great mobility to allow such free and extensive range of motion. The stability of the shoulder joint is provided by muscle contraction, ligaments, the joint capsule and labrum (ring of strong tissue around the “socket” part of the joint).

Shoulder dislocation usually occurs in contact sports, however can occur in other high force situations also such as a fall or motor vehicle accident.

The risk of recurrent dislocation is very high in young adults, and decreases as we get older. For example, the risk of recurrent dislocation in a 20 year old is over 80%, however over 40 years old is only 30%.

After assessing your shoulder, Dr Prodger may need a CT scan or MRI scan to assess damage to the shoulder.

Pre operative physiotherapy is very important to maximize strength and muscular control about the shoulder.

Shoulder stabilisation surgery involves repairing the labrum back onto the glenoid (“Bankart Repair”) as well as treating any other pathology (problems) identified preoperatively or at the time of surgery.

The stabilization surgery can be done arthroscopically (“keyhole surgery”) or in an open fashion (through a larger incision over the shoulder).

Dr Prodger’s preference for most recurrent dislocations is arthroscopic surgery, however this is also determined somewhat by the type of dislocation and injury sustained.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of Shoulder Stabilisation Surgery?

The aim of shoulder stabilisation surgery is to restore stability (stop the shoulder from dislocating) and take away pain associated with recurrent dislocations, and allow a return to normal work and sports.

What are the risks of Shoulder Stabilisation Surgery?

The risks of surgery include infection (<1%), nerve damage (rare), numbness over the scars, and failure of the repair.  Other risks of a general anaesthetic are discussed with your anaesthetist.

How long will I be in hospital for after surgery?

Most patients are in hospital for one night to ensure adequate post-operative pain relief.  A nerve block is used as part of the anaesthetic to minimize postoperative pain, as discussed with the anaesthetist.

What can I expect in hospital after surgery?

Adequate pain relief will be given to ensure postoperative pain is minimized.

A physiotherapist will see you before discharge to instruct you on home exercises and shoulder care.

How do I look after my wound once I am discharged home?

The wounds should be kept clean and dry till the first review 10-14 days post surgery.  If there are any concerns about the wounds or the dressings your GP or Dr Prodger should be contacted.

What rehabilitation will I require after surgery?

Physiotherapy is very important after surgery to maximize your recovery. This will involve a structured exercise program for the first 3 months.

How long will my rehabilitation take after surgery?

Rehabilitation after shoulder stabilization surgery is very important to a successful return to sport and heavy work. The process (depending on the particulars of your surgery) can take 6-8 months to reach maximum improvement.

When can I return to driving and work after surgery?

After 10-14 days

Return to office or light duties (2kg lifting / mobile phone, no use of the arm at chest height or above, no repetitive duties e.g. Process line work).

2-6 weeks

Only household walking for first 2 weeks, then gentle exercise walking in a sling.

3-6 weeks

Start driving 15-30 minutes as you feel safe and confident.  No heavy lifting, particularly above chest height for 6 months.

When can I return to leisure activities including sport after surgery?

It is recommended that patients wait until approximately 6-8 months to return to sport, especially contact sport.  Dr Prodger will advise on particular sports and when it is appropriate to return to these, dependent on your progress and rehabilitation.