All You Need to Know About Shoulder Instability Arthroscopic Surgery

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Shoulder Instability

The shoulder joint is the only joint in the body that gives almost 360 degree range of movement. It is a ball and socket joint where the upper part of the humerus bone fits into the shoulder blade. The ball or the upper part of the humerus bone is big and does not go snugly into the shallow cup of the shoulder cavity. That is why we can move our arms up, down and sideways in a wide range of movements. On the downside, this also makes the shoulder joint unstable and prone to injuries.

Shoulder instability is a medical term used to define injuries to the shoulder when the humerus or the upper arm bone is torn out of the shoulder joint. Once a shoulder dislocation occurs, the tendons and muscles that hold the bone to the socket become loose and allows the bone to slip out repeatedly. This condition is known as chronic shoulder instability which can be treated with surgery. Shoulder Instability arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive treatment option for this condition.

Causes of Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability is caused by excessive trauma to the shoulder region or due to wear and tear of the shoulder joint. Shoulder instability is commonly associated with persons who have to undertake excessive overhead activity as part of their profession or job. There are three common causes of shoulder instability:

Blunt Force Trauma

Shoulder dislocation can be caused due to traumatic injuries received such as those in a car accident or fall. This first dislocation can lead to repeated dislocations and cause shoulder instability. Shoulder instability arthroscopic surgery is an effective treatment option for this painful condition.

Loose Ligaments

It can occur without shoulder dislocations. When the ligaments are loosened they cannot the hold the shoulder together and therefore cause shoulder instability. Some people have loose ligaments in their body and can suffer from a condition known as multidirectional shoulder instability.

Sports Injuries

Repeated overhead motion is certain sports like swimming, tennis, badminton, volleyball can cause the shoulder joint to wear down. With time, the weakened ligaments and joint cannot hold the shoulder together and cause and unstable shoulder.

Shoulder Instability and Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure to evaluate the condition of an unstable shoulder. During the procedure, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the shoulder known as portals through which a camera is placed to check the insides of the shoulder joint. The surgeon can undertake further procedures to correct the shoulder joint. Shoulder instability arthroscopic surgery takes about one hour and is carried out in the out-patient setting.

The surgery is usually done with nerve blocks so that you are awake and conscious during the surgery but do not feel any pain. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used for the surgery and you will be put to sleep. The arthroscopic surgery does not require any hospital stay and you will probably be discharged the same day.

As with all surgeries you will experience pain, which is a natural response to the healing process. You may be prescribed painkillers for a short duration of the surgery but you must not take them unless absolutely necessary to avoid any kind of dependency.

Benefits of arthroscopic surgery

Shoulder Instability arthroscopic surgery has several benefits over open shoulder surgery.

Low Risk of Infection

Contrary to open shoulder surgery, the risk of infection is greatly minimized with arthroscopic surgery. As the incisions are small, the size of the tissue exposed during surgery is less which helps to reduce the risks associated with open surgery.

Better Recovery Times

Recovery from arthroscopic surgery is faster and does not require any hospital stay. After the surgery, you will be kept for observation for a few hours and thereafter, you will be discharged to go home. There may be some pain and swelling which will eventually go down as the healing process starts.

Less Pain

Arthroscopic surgery for shoulder instability is less painful than open shoulder surgery as only a minimal amount of tissues has to be cut.

Less Complication

The risk of complications is lower in case of arthroscopic surgery and allows to you recuperate at a home setting comfortably.

Recovery after shoulder instability arthroscopic surgery

It usually takes about a few weeks to recover from the surgery depending on the complexity of the surgery. May people can join back work or school in a matter of days. You may require physiotherapy with some gentle exercises as part of your shoulder rehabilitation plan. Physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery process and makes it faster.


Shoulder instability is a fairly common condition and can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. If you have been suffering from shoulder problems from a long time, it is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner at the earliest.

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