Dislocation, Instability and Arthroscopic Stabilisation including SLAP Tears

 by Mr Ben Gooding

Shoulder Instability, What Is The Problem?

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. It is dependant on a combination of the bones, muscles and ligaments to keep it stable. The ligaments of the shoulder joint are attached to a labrum (cartilage) on the glenoid (socket). One of the most important ligaments is the inferior glenohumeral ligament which attaches to the labrum on the bottom half at the front of the glenoid.


The most common type of shoulder dislocation is anterior (forwards) and is often seen amongst young people who play ‘contact’ sports. When the shoulder is dislocated the joint capsule and ligaments are stretched and can be torn away from the front of your shoulder joint. Less frequently the shoulder can dislocate backwards (posteriorly).




After a dislocation resulting from an injury, the risk of future shoulder instability is around 50%. After a second dislocation, this risk rises to over 80%. For many people, following a first dislocation, physiotherapy rehabilitation is suggested as the main treatment. For young contact sports players, surgery may be discussed as the first option.

There is a link below to a research article written by us explaining these risks and the evidence for treatment in more detail.

For most cases, if surgery is required, it can be performed arthroscopically. In some cases however, there may be a need to perform an open operation involving a bone graft, especially if the bone on the socket has been damaged. This is often called a Latarjet and further intimation can be found here.