What Is Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization (Bankart Repair)?

arthroscopic shoulder stabilization - south florida orthoAn arthroscopic shoulder stabilization, or Bankart repair, is performed to repair the shoulder socket and prevent the humerus (arm bone) from dislocating. The typical cause is from a detached labrum, which is the thick cartilage attached to the glenoid (shoulder socket) allowing the smooth movement of the humeral head or the ball at the end of the arm bone. These components create the ball-and-socket structure of the shoulder.

A detached labrum can be repaired with a minimally invasive procedure using an arthroscopic camera and small instruments to mend a tear in the cartilage. An arthroscopic shoulder stabilization procedure is beneficial if you have experienced a shoulder dislocation or a weakened shoulder due to overuse.

Your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will recommend any nonsurgical options before proposing this procedure. Arthroscopic shoulder stabilization procedure is typically successful at preventing further shoulder dislocation and improving strength in a majority of patients.

What Happens During an Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization Procedure?

Arthroscopic shoulder stabilization is used to mend any tears in the labrum. The labrum is the cartilage lining the shoulder socket which allows the smooth motion of the shoulder. Candidates for this procedure have experienced severe shoulder pain, difficulty with range of motion or shoulder dislocation. When the labrum is damaged, it is much easier for the humeral ball (ball at the top of the humerus) to slip out of the shoulder socket. Frequent shoulder dislocation can cause permanent damage, especially in elderly patients. Arthroscopic shoulder stabilization will prevent future dislocation and rebuild the strength of the shoulder.

Before proposing surgery, your surgeon will recommend the use of conservative treatments to alleviate pain and allow the shoulder to heal. If these methods are unsuccessful, the minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder stabilization procedure may also be proposed.

Your surgeon will make several small incisions in the shoulder for the tiny arthroscopic camera and other surgical instruments. The arthroscopic camera is used to view the inside of the shoulder joint and identify the source of pain. If the labrum has detached, your surgeon will begin by cleaning the area and removing any loose particles or rough edges on the labrum or glenoid (shoulder socket). Several small holes are drilled into the side of the glenoid and anchors are put in place. Surgical sutures are stitched to the labrum and pulled tightly towards the anchors for reattachment.

Your arm will be placed into a sling for the initial recovery period. Over time, the shoulder will heal and the labrum will naturally rejoin the shoulder socket. Arthroscopic shoulder stabilization procedure may help you avoid future dislocation and improve range of motion.

How Is Recovery After an Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization Procedure?

Following surgery, your arm will be placed in a sling, which should remain in place for four to six weeks. Immobility of the shoulder is essential during the initial recovery period as your joint is extremely susceptible to further damage. Within two to three months of the procedure, your physical therapist will begin introducing shoulder flexibility exercises.

Strengthening exercises will begin four to six months after the surgery and you can resume most light daily activities. Due to the weakness in your shoulder during recovery, you should avoid pushing, pulling, or lifting heavy objects until the shoulder has completely healed. A full recovery is dependent on the severity of the labrum tear and can range from 6 to 12 months.

Once the shoulder has fully healed, you can resume your normal activity level with a strong and stable shoulder joint. A majority of patients see significant improvements in pain and range of motion following this procedure.


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