Surgical Stabilization for Frequent Shoulder Dislocations

A dislocated shoulder is a tricky opponent, and the younger you are, the trickier it can be. When a dislocation occurs (often from falling at on your hand or from high-impact sports), shoulder ligaments are injured in the process. Unfortunately, these ligaments do not heal well, often leaving you at high risk for future dislocations. Even worse, with every dislocation, indentations on the shoulder bone may develop, contributing to further shoulder instability.

If you have experienced repeated shoulder dislocations—or continue to have pain or problems despite prior shoulder surgery—you might be a good candidate for a Latarjet procedure. This type of surgery stabilizes the shoulder and involves taking a piece of bone from your shoulder blade and attaching it to the joint to fill the indentation caused by recurrent dislocations. It generally requires a one-night hospital stay and carries minimal risk. However, the recovery from this type of procedure can be somewhat intensive. For the first four to six weeks, you will wear a sling and keep activity to a minimum, engaging in gentle range-of-motion exercises only, to protect the new bone grafts. A guided physical therapy program is essential to regaining strength, flexibility and comfort. More importantly, we can ensure that you do not impede healing by doing too much too soon or performing the wrong types of exercises. In the first few weeks, we will give you a gentle movement routine to promote the essential healing and to keep the surrounding tissues mobile and the muscles able to activate. As soon as you are ready to start a more comprehensive rehabilitation program, we will incorporate strengthening exercises that focus on the shoulder. Latarjet procedures have a very high success rate, and with our help, you should be able to return to your normal physical activities within a few months. We can evaluate your shoulder and help you get started on your rehabilitation. After reviewing your schedule and condition, we can make recommendations to help you avoid overuse.