Shoulder instability is a painful condition to live with. Many times it can become such a problem that range of motion and strength of the shoulder and arm are significantly reduced. With an unstable shoulder the likelihood of recurrent dislocations is high, and this can end up causing a great deal of damage to the bones, cartilage, ligaments and muscles in and around the shoulder joint. When a person suffers from shoulder instability, the best course of treatment is a surgical procedure referred to as an arthroscopic stabilisation.
An arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation involves a few small cuts being made into the shoulder, normally at the front and back of the shoulder. A small narrow camera, along with small instruments is inserted into these holes. The surgeon is able to view the inside of the shoulder without having to cut through skin, muscles and ligaments as would normally occur in an ‘open’ surgical procedure. This arthroscopic procedure, also known as a Bankart Repair, involves inserting suture anchors into the shoulder to reattach the torn or damaged ligament back onto the bone. The result is a firm tight ligament that supports the upper arm bone (humerus), holding it into place within its socket joint in the shoulder.
An arthroscopic stabilisation enables the patient to regain their shoulder strength and its stability, and the likelihood of the shoulder dislocating again is dramatically reduced. Recovery from an arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation procedure takes a few weeks. For the first three or so weeks the shoulder will remain immobilised, most likely in a supportive sling. Physical therapy exercises in the following weeks will help to build strength and movement within the joint. It will generally be a minimum of six weeks before you will be able to drive a car, go swimming, or perform any lifting. Over the following 12 months post surgery, the shoulder will continue to recover and gain in strength, stability, and range of motion.