Shoulder Instability: Dislocation or Separation
- Feeling like shoulder could easily slip out of place (loose joint)
- Shoulder pain (quick bursts like something slipped or got pinched)
- History of previous shoulder dislocation(s) or injury
- Numbness on outside of arm (usually only in complete dislocations when nerves get stretched)
- Possible swelling or bruising in the shoulder area (usually following a shoulder separation)
- Visible abnormalities of the shoulder (it looks displaced or separated)
What is Shoulder Instability?
Shoulder Instability is a condition that results in a loose shoulder joint from injuries such as a shoulder dislocation or complete shoulder separation overstretching and damaging the tendons and ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint, which make it unstable and prone to further injury.
- A Shoulder Dislocation is an injury that occurs when the ball and socket joint, which includes the top of the arm bone (Humerus) and shoulder blade (Scapula), loses contact and the humerus is displaced from the socket. Shoulder Dislocations usually occur after an injury such as a fall or a sports related injury.
- A Shoulder Separation is an injury that results from a separation of the acromioclavicular joint. The “acromion” is the part of the scapula that attaches to the tip of the clavicle (collarbone). A Shoulder Separation usually occurs from a direct blow to the top of the shoulder or a fall on an outstretched hand.
Some cases of shoulder instability may be treated by splinting, resting, performing stretching or strengthening exercises, avoiding aggravating activities that cause pain, taking anti-inflammatories, and/or receiving corticosteroid injection(s). While non-surgical treatment can relieve some cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary.
Arthroscopic Shoulder Instability Repair (Minimally Invasive)
Dr. John Hoffman and Dr. Tuvi Mendel, our orthopaedic surgeons, perform arthroscopic shoulder instability repair, which uses small incisions to reattach the damaged tendons and ligaments and stabilize the shoulder joint. Through the incisions, the arthroscope (small video camera) sends enlarged live video footage of the torn or frayed capsular ligaments to a monitor for the surgeon to use as a guide while treating the shoulder instability. The areas of the damaged tendons or ligaments are cleaned-up and reattached back in place to the bone where scar tissue forms and the joint becomes more stable. As a result of the small incisions, patients typically have less downtime and a much faster recovery than patients that undergo the open surgical procedures.
Open Shoulder Instability Repair
Traditional open shoulder instability repair procedures require a larger incision than the arthroscopic procedure to reattach the torn capsular ligaments and labrum to the bone.