Why It Might Be Necessary | How the Procedure Is Done
If you suffer from shoulder instability, which can result from multiple dislocations of the joint, you may be able to get the relief you need non-invasively, with medication, rest, ice, or manipulation that realigns your shoulder into proper position. Often, though, the best long-term solution to restore function and minimizethe risk of further dislocation is to undergo shoulder reconstruction surgery.
Injuries That May Necessitate Shoulder Reconstruction
Perhaps the most common type of shoulder injury that requires reconstruction is a “Bankart” injury, which involves a tear to your labrum, the ring of fibrous cartilage that surrounds your shoulder joint and helps keep your shoulder stable. Symptoms of a Bankart tear include clicking when you lift your arms, loss of strength in your shoulder and upper arm, a general feeling of looseness in the shoulder, or repeated dislocations. You also may experience severe pain, swelling, or popping or grinding in your shoulder.
Shoulder Reconstruction—The Procedure
During shoulder reconstruction surgery, your damaged ligaments and cartilage are repaired, returning stability to your shoulder. Any ligaments that have been overextended are tightened. In addition, your torn labrum is typically attached to your shoulder socket with special anchors.
In some instances, shoulder reconstruction can be completed arthroscopically, a minimally-invasive procedure that uses tiny incisions and instruments to make necessary repairs. Often, however, shoulder reconstruction requires more extensiveopen surgery. After the more complex procedure, you can usually expect to have your shoulder in a sling for a month or more. You’ll also need physical therapy to rebuild muscle strength and mobility. You may need to sleep with a pillow under your shoulder and avoid heavy lifting until you’ve healed.