Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What should I do about my 38 day shoulder dislocation?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do about my 38 day shoulder dislocation?


On August 12th I had a posterior Bankart Repair for my shoulder that was dislocating both posteriorly and anteriorly over 20 times a day mainly posteriorly. Post op the anterior dislocations got worse and even though I ha e already done one round of physical therapy post op it didn't help with the shoulder. My surgen refuses to do anything but therapy what should I do?


Bankart repairs often work to prevent recurrent dislocations, but are not always successful. There are additional options after a failed Bankart repair that typically include some combination of physical therapy and surgery. The person who can best advise you on this will be an orthopedic surgeon who is a shoulder specialist and has a lot of experience with recurrent shoulder dislocations. One possibility is that he will recommend getting a CT scan to look for bone degeneration in the glenoid fossa, which is part of the shoulder joint. If you have a lot of bony degeneration, you may be a candidate for a second surgery called the Latarjet. This typically works well for people with refractory shoulder dislocations, but is much more involved that the Bankart repair - it changes the anatomy of the joint by moving bone from the scapula, with subsequent loss of normal range of motion of the shoulder. It requires 4-6 months of rehabilitation afterwards, and there are risks of bony or nerve injury. For this reason, this procedure is only used in certain patients, and should be performed in a medical center that has a lot of experience doing these procedures. Physical therapy is also an important part of this process, and may be why your surgeon is emphasizing this aspect. Physical therapy can help re-align the scapula and the spine, and this re-alignment is necessary to keeping the shoulder in place; even a Latarjet may not be successful if the alignment isn't first corrected. As you can see, the optimal next best step is not simple, and depends a lot on your anatomy. For these reasons, I recommend you seek out a shoulder specialist who can examine your shoulder and better identify what would be the next best step for you.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.