Shoulder stabilisation is used to treat shoulder instability. Prior to the reconstructive surgery being carried out, the surgeon will usually perform an arthroscopy, keyhole surgery used to establish how unstable the joint is and whether any damage had occurred. This is typically done as part of the same procedure as the shoulder stabilisation, whilst under anaesthetic.
Stabilisation can be performed arthroscopically and involves fixing the rim of the joint with absorbable tacks.
For more unstable joints, open surgery stabilisation may be required. This is performed through an 8-10cm incision on the front of the shoulder. The rim of the joint can be re-attached as well as enabling the tightening of the loose tissue at the front of the joint.
Arthroscopic stabilisation usually requires patients to be admitted for the day. An open surgery stabilisation usually requires a one to two night stay post operatively.
Patients will be required to wear a sling for six weeks. During this period, patients will not be able to lift, drive or perform any activities that may damage the repair. Patients will be able to start to move the arm under physiotherapy supervision.
After six weeks, the sling will usually no longer be required and patients will be encouraged to start regaining movement in the shoulder, avoiding strengthening exercises. After twelve weeks, the repair is usually strong enough to allow strengthening exercises. These are continued until six months after surgery. Most sports can be restarted after six months, however after revision surgery, this may need to be delayed for longer.