Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I have a chronic dislocating shoulder that needs fixing. The doctor told me there's still a 25 percent chance the joint can dislocate again even after repair. Why is that?

Answer:

Studies show that shoulder dislocation after repair occurs anywhere from 12 to 24 percent of the time. There are different reasons for this. Sometimes it depends on the type of surgery done to repair the problem.

For example, an open incision allows the surgeon to repair the tear in the cartilage and tighten up the joint capsule at the same time. Arthroscopic surgery may only include repair of the damaged soft tissue while leaving the capsular laxity alone.

Another factor in repeat dislocations after surgery is the patient. It's important to follow the surgeon's instructions. A shoulder sling may be needed for up to four weeks. Exercises must be done daily. Doing too much too soon is a common way to undo the benefits of the surgery.

Shiyi Chen, MD, PhD, et al. The Effects of Thermal Capsular Shrinkage on the Outcomes of Arthroscopic Stabilization for Primary Anterior Shoulder Instability. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. May 2005. Vol. 33. No. 5. Pp. 705-711.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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