If you are told that surgery is your best option to treat a shoulder dislocation, you ideally want to have it done once and only once, for obvious reasons. In order to give you the best chance at doing this, your treating surgeon must always remember to evaluate whether you have had significant bone loss in your shoulder prior to performing any surgery. Neglecting to do so will put you at a higher risk of a failed repair. This is a subtle, but easily missed point.
This is because when you dislocate your shoulder, it is possible to chip a piece of bone off of either the ball or socket portion of your joint. This piece of bone can be small and inconsequential or large and problematic.
In general the more times you dislocate the joint, the higher your risk for bone loss. Additionally the more bone you lose, the more unstable your shoulder will may- and the more extensive your surgery will need to be to fix your problem. MRI and CT can help identify bone loss prior to any planned surgery.
There are many ways to treat bone loss in the setting of a dislocating shoulder. And there are pluses and minuses to each. I researched one particular way of doing this while I was in my shoulder fellowship at NYU.
If you need a surgery to repair your dislocated shoulder, just be certain that your surgeon is comfortable using advanced bone-grafting techniques in the event that one is needed to treat your unique case. It may mean the difference between a long-lasting stable repair and a repeat surgery.
A decision about which method to use for your particular problem is best made after a thorough evaluation of your problem and discussion with you, the patient.
If you need surgery to treat your dislocating shoulder and help you regain more comfortable, stable motion please contact us for more information or for a personal consultation.