What is a Shoulder Dislocation?
The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the body. The head of the humerus (arm bone) and glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade) form the ball and socket joint. The joint is held in place by the rotator cuff tendons and the soft tissue glenoid labrum. A tear in either can cause the shoulder to partially or completely dislocate. Symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include pain, swelling and bruising, and inability to move the arm and shoulder. A visible anatomical deformity is usually seen. Common causes of a shoulder dislocation are sports injuries, traumatic accidents, and falls. Patients who experience a shoulder dislocation should make an appointment with an Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OIOCJ) specialist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment increases the chances of another dislocation.
How is a Shoulder Dislocation Treated?
A shoulder dislocation may require immediate medical attention. If the shoulder does not relocate to its normal position on its own, a closed reduction is performed. Once the shoulder is relocated and the cause for the dislocation is determined, a treatment plan is prescribed. Nonsurgical treatment options include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Activity modification
- Rest and ice
- Physical therapy
If nonsurgical treatment options do not reduce symptoms and stabilize the shoulder, surgical intervention may be recommended. Two commonly performed procedures are:
- Rotator cuff repair. Suture anchors are used to
repairthe torn tendon and reattach it to the head of the humerus.
- Labrum repair. Suture anchors are used to
repairthe torn labrum and reattach it to the outer rim of the glenoid cavity.
Both are performed minimally invasively.