Question:I've dislocated my shoulder a couple of times. My doctor wants me to try surgery. He says I can choose between regular open surgery and an arthroscopic kind of surgery. Which works better?
Though there have been conflicting reports in the literature, it looks like the two kinds of surgery may have about the same success rate. A recent study compared the results of the two procedures in over a hundred patients. The patients were mostly men around age 27. They'd dislocated their shoulders an average of six to 10 times. Roughly three years after injury, they chose to have either arthroscopic or open surgery.
Two to five years after surgery, 15 percent of the patients in the arthroscopic group had had another dislocation. The same was true of 10 percent of patients who had open surgery. The difference between groups was felt to be slight.
Patients in the arthroscopic group seemed to have better movement in their shoulders than those in the open group. Other than that, there were no differences between the two groups in shoulder strength or function.
There were also no differences between groups in complications from surgery or need for more surgery. Both procedures seemed to have good results for most patients. The authors suggest that looseness in the shoulder joint may determine how effective surgery is in either case. They think that decisions about surgery should be based on patients' preferences and doctors' experiences with both types of surgery. Talk more with your doctor to decide which kind of surgery is best for you.
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