The shoulder joint is the ball-and-socket joint where the upper arm bone meets the shoulder blade. The shoulder joint is held in place by the rotator cuff and a network of ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint. Shoulder instability occurs when the ligaments and muscles in the shoulder joint are unable to keep the ball tightly within the socket. When the ball of the joint slides completely out of the socket, this is called a dislocated shoulder. Patients with shoulder instability often feel worried or apprehensive that the shoulder joint is about to dislocate, and frequently experience a dislocated shoulder or a feeling that the shoulder moves out of place or partially dislocates.
Dislocated shoulders and shoulder instability are common injuries in contact sports as well as sports that involve falls, like skiing and gymnastics. A dislocated shoulder is very painful and it is likely to happen again if not treated. For athletes experiencing continued pain from a dislocated shoulder and shoulder instability, Dr. Shani provides expert surgical options to stabilize the shoulder and prevent future painful dislocations.
Dr. Shani performs arthroscopic shoulder stabilization surgery, making this a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Dr. Shani makes small incisions around the shoulder with pencil-thin surgical instruments to reattach or shorten damaged ligaments in the shoulder joint using suture anchors. These anchors relocate, tighten, and hold the injured shoulder in place. This procedure prevents future dislocations by tightening the soft tissue in shoulder joint so the ball is held more firmly in the socket.
Patients work with Dr. Shani and a physical therapist for about five months on an individual rehabilitation program to ensure the shoulder joint heals properly. Shoulder stabilization rehabilitation focuses on specific exercises to improve range of motion and prevent scarring as ligaments heal. The arm is kept in a sling for at least three weeks, and most patients regain full external rotation of their shoulder after nine weeks. The focus of physical therapy shifts to sports specific training after four months. For most patients a full return to pre-injury level of sport (including contact sports) is possible after five months of physical therapy and consultations with Dr. Shani.