Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Instability

There are several types of shoulder operations that stabilize the shoulder. The surgery may be done using an arthroscope or through an incision made in your skin depending on the type of injury you have and the type of surgery needed. Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that allows your surgeon to evaluate your shoulder and in some cases treat the cause of instability.  During the procedure your surgeon will make small incisions in your shoulder called portals.  A tiny camera is then placed in the portals and the interior space of the shoulder can be visualized. The following are among the more commonly performed surgeries.

  • Capsular shift- this procedure is performed to tighten the joint capsule.  A capsular shift is commonly performed using an arthroscope.  In this procedure your surgeon tightens the capsule, including the ligaments that stabilize the shoulder. This is similar to when a tailor tucks loose fabric by overlapping and sewing the two parts. By tightening the ligaments, they are then able to perform their stabilizing function.



  • Labral repair (Bankart repair)- this procedure is performed to repair a tear to the labrum and is also commonly done using the arthroscope. In small tears it is sometimes not necessary to repair the tear, but rather to débride.  A debridement is simply removing the frayed edges and any loose parts that get caught when your shoulder is moved. A larger tear is repaired using suture anchors and heavy suture to reattach the labrum to the socket.  An open procedure may be necessary if the bone of the socket is involved in the injury. The surgeon would make the repair through longer incision on the front of your shoulder.  This would be closed with suture and steri-strips.


  • Latarjet procedure- this procedure is done when there is bone loss from the socket due to repeated dislocations. It is done as an open procedure.  A small piece of bone is taken from another part of the shoulder and is placed into the worn away area of the shoulder socket. This is called a bone graft.  It is attached using screws.

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