TREATMENT - Shoulder Instability Surgery
There are many different types of surgery to correct an unstable shoulder. The most common type of surgery is called a Bankart Reconstruction; named after the surgeon who invented it. This procedure typically accomplishes two things:
It re-attaches a torn O-ring cartilage called the labrum and
It tightens the ligaments that have gotten loose.
While typically performed as an "open procedure", meaning with a large incision, newer techniques have enabled arthroscopic surgeons to perform this procedure through two small incisions. More and more surgeons are moving to these arthroscopic techniques (called Arthroscopic Bankart reconstruction or Arthroscopic Suture Capsulorraphy) as data shows that there is less pain and complications after surgery, and that success rates are similar to open procedures.
A new procedure available for certain types of shoulder instability is called thermal capsulorraphy. This involves using a "thermal probe" to gently heat up the loose ligaments in your shoulder and cause them to shrink; sort of like a "shrink-wrap". One of the benefits of this procedure is that it is almost always done completely arthroscopically. The downside is that it is still very new, so we do not know how good the long term results will be.
Most open reconstructions require the patient to spend the night in the hospital after surgery for pain control. Patients who have arthroscopic surgery can often have the procedure performed as an outpatient and go home the same day.
To control your pain after surgery, many surgeons will recommend cryotherapy - cold applied to your shoulder to help with pain and swelling. Although an ice-bag can work fine, it is often messy and cumbersome. After surgery, you do not want to have to worry about changing a wet ice-bag repeatedly. That's where our DonJoy Iceman and PolarCare Cub come in - they're specifically designed to provide you comfort in a very simple and easy-to-use device. The Iceman is a state-of-the-art cryotherapy unit that has an electric pump to recirculate the cooling water to your joint. The PolarCare Cub employs a hand-pump system to circulate the fluid, and does not require electricity.
After your shoulder has been allowed to rest for a period of time (your surgeon will tell you EXACTLY how long he/she wants you to keep your shoulder in a sling), shoulder exercises will be prescribed. You will be asked to follow a specific program of exercises to regain your motion and strength. Many surgeons will send their patients to a physical therapist for these exercises. In addition, however, you will probably be encouraged to do exercises at home. That's where our Deluxe Shoulder Therapy Set can really help - it has all the tools you need to do your exercises, under the supervision of your doctor or physical therapist, right in the comfort of your own home.