Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I have one shoulder that keeps dislocating. Today I finally found out why: there's a huge hole in the head of the humerus. I guess I blew that out the first time the shoulder dislocated in a soccer game. Is there any chance this will heal on its own? I'd like to avoid surgery.

Answer:

Bony defects are commonly linked with recurrent shoulder dislocations (instability). Fractures in the bone, tendons that pull away from the bone, and tears in the fibrous rim around the shoulder socket are often part of the unstable shoulder following a traumatic injury. Conservative (nonoperative) care for major defects in the bone on either side of the shoulder joint isn't usually enough to recreate shoulder stability. Even with surgery, some patients have less than optimal results. However, more than ever before, surgeons have improved the techniques used to repair these defects. Advanced imaging techniques with MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasound studies has made it possible to identify the location, type, and size of lesions before surgery is even scheduled. Sometimes the less invasive arthroscopic type surgery can be performed. More often, open incision procedures are called for. The goal is to restore the normal joint surface while giving the patient a stable and functional shoulder with normal biomechanics and full joint motion. Meeting these goals just isn't always possible without surgery with injuries like yours. Oke A. Anakwenze, MD, et al. Recurrent Anterior Shoulder Instability Associated with Bony Defects. In Orthopedics. July 2011. Vol. 34. No. 7. Pp. 538-544.

*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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