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Is surgery a good option for recurrent shoulder dislocation?

Q: I am a 33 years old male. I dislocated my left shoulder 10 years ago in a game of Kabaddi. So far I have had 15 such episodes and it is very painful. Except in the first instance, all other dislocations occurred without any injury (while sleeping, bending my arm backwards, travelling in a train etc.). I underwent arthroscopy (in Germany) 3 years back and the surgery concluded as a diagnostic procedure without much help in fixing the problem. The reason given was that the labrum is not sufficient to stitch. I am consulting an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles and he has suggested an open surgery. I am interested in knowing the post-surgery pain and the typical recovery period though I know it may vary from individual to individual. I want to know what to look for during and after surgery. My surgeon also told me that due to recursive shoulder dislocation, he wants to see if the bone has either moved down or is fractured. This is potentially creating a danger of exposing the nerves during surgery. He also mentioned that he might need to use donor tissue to stick.

A:What you have been told about your problem is essentially correct. The dislocation if it keeps happening again and again does produce the problem of absorption of bone because of which an arthroscopic repair is not possible. The open repair can be done, is a safe procedure, and has 90% chances of becoming successful if you will keep your arm bandaged for three months and not indulge in contact sports which put too much stress on shoulder joint. After the bandage is discontinued it will take one more month for you to regain shoulder movements and it may not be possible for you to lift the arm completely over the head and creating this limitation of movement is the basis of surgical treatment by open method. I would advise you to undergo the operation as soon as you can find time and not delay it any further which will make operation more difficult and chances of success lesser and lesser.


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