Written and Edited by Aruna Seneviratne, M.D.
Shoulder dislocations are common injuries among athletes and some non-athletes. They can be very painful at the time of injury and may require a trip to the emergency room to have the shoulder placed back into the socket.
Biology: Why does it occur?
Common Diagnostic Techniques
Older patients can be treated non-operatively with a sling for a few weeks followed by physical therapy. Any recurrent dislocation or shoulder instability warrants surgical intervention.
There are several different ways to treat shoulder dislocations, but the most common technique used by Dr. Seneviratne is the arthroscopic method. Some contact athletes such as football, rugby, and hockey players may warrant open shoulder stabilization. Bone loss may require the addition of a Remplissage procedure where the capsule and rotator cuff are repaired into the bone defect of the humeral head (the Hill-Sachs lesion). Bone loss on the glenoid side or the socket of the shoulder will require a Latarjet procedure where the coracoid process is transferred to the area of bone loss. Thus, the operation that is chosen to treat the problem at hand is personalized to each patient.
The postoperative hospital course
- Can I drive? Usually in 6 weeks, but as early as 3 weeks
- Can I return to work? About 1-2 days depending on your occupation, but a week off is recommended.
- Can I shower? Yes – in 48 hours.
- Can I resume sexual activity? Yes – within a day or two.
- Can I fly in an airplane? In about 1 week – you must arrange for an aisle seat, have your bags handled by someone else, and you MUST do ankle pumps every 15minutes, as DVT is a major concern. You must also take Aspirin to prevent DVT.