The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body making it susceptible to instability and injury. Shoulder Instability results from one or more dislocations, or partial dislocations, called subluxations, where the upper arm partially or completely dislocates from the shoulder socket to which it is attached. With each occurrence the internal soft tissues of the shoulder are stretched or damaged making the shoulder joint more susceptible to dislocating again.
Shoulder Instability is a chronic condition causing frequent dislocations of the shoulder joint. A dislocation occurs when the end of the humerus, the ball portion, partially or completely dislocates from the glenoid, the socket portion of the shoulder. A partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation whereas a complete separation is referred to as a dislocation.
Shoulder Instability increases the chance of further dislocation with every occurrence due to damage and stretching of tissues, ligaments, and other internal structures.
When conservative treatment options fail to relieve shoulder instability your Orthopaedic surgeon may recommend Shoulder Stabilization surgery. The goal of Shoulder Stabilization surgery is to improve stability and function to the shoulder joint and prevent recurrent dislocations.
Shoulder stabilization surgery has traditionally been performed as open surgery, with large incisions and a long recovery process. Shoulder Stabilization surgery can now be performed arthroscopically, depending on your particular situation, with much smaller incisions. Occasionally, however, arthroscopic surgery may need to be converted to open surgery to properly repair the damage to internal structures.
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, a small, soft, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end, is inserted into a joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions.
The benefits of arthroscopy compared to the alternative, open shoulder surgery, include:
- Smaller incisions
- Minimal soft tissue trauma
- Less pain
- Faster healing time
- Lower infection rate
- Less scarring
- Earlier mobilization
- Usually performed as outpatient day surgery