Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I have a question that may seem too technical but I'd like to find out if I can. I fell and landed on my outstretched arm tearing the labrum and dislocating my shoulder. This all happened about four years ago. The surgery went well but I have a scar across my shoulder. Last month my best friend had the same surgery. Her scar is teeny tiny compared to mine. Why the difference?

Answer:

You are probably seeing the difference between an open repair (you) and an arthroscopic or closed repair (your friend). Until recently the open repair had better results for this problem. There were fewer cases of recurrent dislocation after the repair with the open method.

But newer techniques and a better suture system have changed those results. Now the arthroscopic repair has an equal rate of recurrent instability. Recurrent instability refers to repeated shoulder dislocations. The next step is to compare other outcomes from the two surgeries.

For example, do patients have the same pain levels after both kinds of surgery? Does one method give better function than another? Are patients more satisfied with the result with the open or closed method? The first study comparing these factors has been done.

Researchers report equal results when patients are matched for type of injury. They suggest that the decision is one of personal preference on the part of the surgeon.
Fotios P. Tjoumakaris, MD, et al. Arthroscopic and Open Bankart Repairs Provide Similar Outcomes. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. May 2006. No. 446. Pp. 227-232.

*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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