Shoulder Stabilisation

Dr Marcus Chia - Shoulder Surgeon

Learn about shoulder stabilisation and how it helps with shoulder joint problems.

What is a shoulder stabilisation?

A shoulder stabilisation is a surgery that helps repair damaged tissue in the shoulder joint. The aim of the surgery is to prevent the shoulder joint dislocating in the future.

A dislocated shoulder occurs 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  

Surgeons use a range of procedures to help stabilise the shoulder joint, including:

  • Arthroscopy — a surgeon can look inside the shoulder with a tiny camera and stabilise the joint with special pencil-thin instruments.
  • Open Surgery — a surgeon repairs any damaged tissues after making a larger incision to access the joint.

In most cases, arthroscopic surgery can help repair the damaged labrum (the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket) and ligaments.

Why would I need a shoulder stabilisation?

You may need a shoulder stabilisation if you have shoulder instability that does not improve with:

  • rest
  • physiotherapy
  • medications or injections that help reduce inflammation.

What conditions need a shoulder stabilisation?

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. People who are older have less risk of repeat dislocations, but they are at risk of rotator cuff tears associated with the dislocation.

How do I know if I need shoulder stabilisation?

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 shoulder stabilisation.

If you have had multiple dislocations where bone loss from the socket (glenoid) or ball (humeral head) has occurred, Dr Chia may recommend a Latarjet procedure. LINK LINK LINK

What happens during shoulder stabilisation?

Dr Chia will explain why you need a shoulder stabilisation and what will happen during your procedure.

The most common technique is called an arthroscopic Bankart repair. Dr Chia can also perform a Bankart repair with an open surgery.

Dr Chia will choose a technique that best suits your problem and that will best aid your recovery.

During Surgery

Dr Chia will repair the damaged ligaments in the shoulder joint using either an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure or an open procedure.

  • With arthroscopic surgery, Dr Chia usually makes a small number of cuts, less than a centimetre long, around the shoulder joint. He inserts the arthroscope — a specially designed surgical camera — through one of the cuts. Dr Chia will insert small surgical instruments through the other cuts. He will repair damaged ligaments and labrum (the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket) by fixing them back to the bone with sutures and bone anchors.
  • With open surgery, Dr Chia makes a single cut on the front of your shoulder. He repairs the damaged ligaments and labrum (the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket) by fixing them back to the bone with sutures and bone anchors.

After Surgery

After your surgery, you will need to wear a sling for a few weeks to help protect your shoulder.

Dr Chia will give you a treatment plan which includes both active and passive exercises to 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.

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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