Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation: What is it? Treatment Procedures

June 20, 2024 by drdivyanshuD

What is a Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation?

Recurrent shoulder dislocation is a common problem faced by young individuals. Individuals with this problem face restriction of certain movements resulting in curtailment of sports activities. Also, there is this constant fear that the shoulder may pop out anytime.

There is usually a definite history of trauma leading to the first episodes of dislocation. The dislocation leads to an abnormal contour of the shoulder with associated severe pain and an inability to move the shoulder. The dislocation lands the person in an emergency and requires an orthopedic surgeon to reduce the shoulder after x-ray confirmation.  Young individuals have higher chances of repeat dislocations after the first episode. This often occurs during overhead activity. There is often a feeling of the shoulder giving way prior to frank dislocation, which is known as an apprehension sign.

Treatment of Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation

The recurrent shoulder dislocation needs some form of surgical management. Surgeons usually get an MRI and CT done to look for signs of bone loss in the shoulder joint to arrive at a decision. Patients with fewer amounts of bone loss are amenable to repair of joint by arthroscopy. This is usually followed by a supervised physiotherapy regimen. Patients who have more bone loss in shoulder joint due to repeated rubbing of bones against each other during each episode of dislocation will need open surgery. Both open and arthroscopic surgeries are performed by orthopedic surgeons who subspecialize in shoulder surgery.

There is a subset of patients who will require surgery even after the first episode of dislocation. Individuals who are in high-activity or contact sports, manual laborers, army men will require a thorough evaluation and probably surgery even after the first dislocation.

Thus, recurrent shoulder dislocations are a common but treatable condition. We should seek an immediate medical opinion after a dislocation. If the condition becomes recurrent or in certain high-activity individuals, surgery provides benefits with predictable outcomes. Please see your orthopedic surgeon if you have this condition.

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