The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and allows the arm to lift, rotate, and reach overhead. Certain patients may experience some level of shoulder instability during their lifetime because the joint’s great range of motion makes it susceptible. Chronic shoulder instability usually occurs after a shoulder dislocation or other traumatic injury to the joint. The initial dislocation or trauma causes the surrounding soft tissues to become damaged, leading to the shoulder chronically becoming loose and slipping out of place. When instability of the shoulder becomes a consistent issue, chronic shoulder instability may be diagnosed by Dr. Matthew Provencher, Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado orthopedic shoulder surgeon and sports medicine specialist. Capsulolabral reconstruction, otherwise known as a Bankart repair, is a popular procedure used to treat ongoing shoulder instability by Dr. Provencher.

A capsulolabral reconstruction consists of Dr. Provencher sewing the joint capsule (envelope surrounding the joint) to the detached glenoid labrum (cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the socket of the shoulder joint) without duplication of the subscapularis tendon (the largest and strongest of the four rotator cuff muscles, located on the back) . The procedure is very successful in stabilizing the shoulder joint and lowering the risk of chronic dislocations.

A Bankart repair can be performed by Dr. Provencher as an arthroscopic or open shoulder surgery. The surgical procedure uses a transplanted tendon (either from the patient or from a donor) to create new ligaments and tendons. The transplanted tendon repairs the damaged shoulder ligament that has torn away from the labrum during a dislocation.

Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Capsulolabral Reconstruction

Following an arthroscopic capsulolabral reconstruction, or an open Bankart repair, patients will be required to wear a sling or similar device for approximately 6 weeks. The sling helps immobilize the joint, allows the repaired labrum to heal to the glenoid, and provides protection to the repaired shoulder joint.

Patients are advised to apply ice to the incision site and take pain medication prescribed by Dr. Provencher to help alleviate pain and swelling. A physical therapy rehabilitation program will begin immediately following a Bankart repair and typically continues for 8 weeks, or when the repaired shoulder regains full strength and function. It is strongly suggested that patients work with the in-house physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine to optimize their rehabilitation.

If you suffer from chronic shoulder instability and would like more information on an arthroscopic Bankart repair or open capsulolabral reconstruction, please contact the Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado orthopedic office of Dr. Matthew Provencher.