What is the treatment for shoulder dislocation and shoulder instability?
After reviewing the diagnostic imaging, Dr. Williams will create an individualized treatment plan based on the patient’s age, activity level, and degree of dislocation or shoulder instability.
If the shoulder joint is out of place, a technique known as reduction will be utilized to place the joint back to its normal position. Reduction of the shoulder joint should only be performed by a professional who is experienced in the manual manipulation of the humeral head back into the glenoid. If the shoulder joint is successfully reduced, the shoulder pain should be markedly reduced almost immediately.
Upon a successful reduction of the shoulder joint, Dr. Williams will apply a sling to immobilize this joint to allow the ligaments to heal properly. A combination of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are also recommended. If pain of the affected joint is still bothersome following a successful reduction, a steroid injection may be administered to decrease the inflammation within the shoulder joint. Most patients will undergo some physical therapy to restore normal shoulder joint motion and function.
If reduction of the shoulder joint is unsuccessful, the patient may need to be sedated to facilitate joint reduction. In rare cases, a fixed dislocation may need immediate operative repair.
Most cases of shoulder instability that do not respond to physical therapy will require surgery. The basic tenet of shoulder instability surgery is the restoration of the ligamentous attachments of the labrum/capsule back to the glenoid socket. Dr. Williams may recommend a shoulder arthroscopy which is a procedure that incorporates a small camera into the shoulder joint to better view the damaged ligaments. This minimally invasive surgical technique is effective at correcting shoulder instability by repairing the damaged ligaments, while allowing patients to return to their normal activities within a shorter period of time.