Latarjet Procedure

Dr Marcus Chia - Shoulder Surgeon

Learn about the Latarjet procedure and how it helps with serious shoulder joint problems.

What is a Latarjet procedure?

A Latarjet procedure is a surgery that helps stabilise the shoulder joint. The aim of the surgery is to prevent the shoulder joint from dislocating in the future.

A dislocated shoulder happens when the ball and socket of the shoulder joint become separated. The shoulder can dislocate forwards, backwards or downwards.

If the ligaments, bone or muscles of the joint are damaged when it dislocates, then the shoulder can become unstable. Shoulder instability can result in further dislocations.

Read more about shoulder dislocation and instability  

A Latarjet procedure can help if you’ve had multiple dislocations where you’ve lost bone from:

  • the shoulder socket (glenoid)
  • the ball (humeral head).

A Latarjet procedure relocates a piece of bone (coracoid process) with its attached tendon to the bone of shoulder socket. The relocation of this bone and tendon helps stabilise the shoulder joint.

Why would I need a Latarjet procedure?

You may need a Latarjet procedure if you have recurrent shoulder instability.

Surgeons often recommend a Latarjet procedure:

  • when there is significant bone damage
  • in contact athletes
  • in patients with increased shoulder joint laxity
  • after failed prior shoulder reconstructions.

What conditions need a Latarjet procedure?

Shoulder instability or dislocation can occur with:

  • Sports injuries — most people dislocate their shoulder during a contact sport, such as rugby, or in a sports-related accident.
  • Falls — either falling directly on the shoulder or on an outstretched hand.
  • People who have loose joints (hypermobility) and connective tissue disorders.

Young people have a higher risk of recurring shoulder dislocations or symptoms of shoulder instability.

How do I know if I need a Latarjet procedure?

If you have persistent shoulder instability, Dr Marcus Chia can examine you.

He will check your strength and shoulder movements. There are often certain positions where you feel like your shoulder will ‘pop out’ (dislocate). Dr Chia will take a medical history, including questions about how often your shoulder has dislocated.

Dr Chia may request an X-ray, MRI or CT scan, so he can have detailed images of your shoulder to assess the nature of the ligament, bone and muscle damage.

The physical exam and the imaging scans will help Dr Chia work out if you will benefit from a Latarjet procedure.

What happens during a Latarjet procedure?

Dr Chia will explain why you need a Latarjet procedure and what will happen during the surgery.

During Surgery

Dr Chia will make a cut on the front of your shoulder to access the joint and surrounding structures. He will relocate a piece of nearby bone (coracoid process) with its attached tendon and muscles into the front of the shoulder socket (glenoid). Dr Chia uses screws to affix the coracoid process and tendon to the socket.

The procedure replaces the bone missing from the socket. The transferred tendon and muscle also act as a kind of internal ‘sling’. This helps the joint to be more stable.

After Surgery

You may need to wear a sling for a few weeks to help stabilise your shoulder after surgery. Dr Chia will give you a treatment plan which includes both active and passive exercises to gradually increase your range of motion. You may do these exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist.

Dr Chia will advise when you can return to your usual activities and work. This will be around 3-6 months following this procedure.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. For more information on shoulder arthritis and shoulder arthroplasty, please contact the office of Dr Marcus Chia - Sydney Orthopaedic Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon.

For appointments and enquiries, please phone (02) 8014 4252

Peninsula Orthopaedics
Suite 20, Level 7
Northern Beaches Hospital
105 Frenchs Forest Road
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Mona Vale Rooms
Suite 502, 20 Bungan Street
Mona Vale NSW 2103

Northside Orthopaedics
Suite 403, Level 4
San Clinic
Sydney Adventist Hospital
185 Fox Valley Road
Wahroonga NSW 2076

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