Arthroscopic Bankart Repair

The socket of the shoulder, or glenoid, is covered with a layer of cartilage called the labrum that cushions and deepens the socket to help stabilize the joint. Traumatic injuries and repetitive overhead shoulder movements can tear the labrum, leading to pain, limited motion, instability and weakness in the joint. Symptoms of a labral injury may include shoulder pain and a popping or clicking sensation when the shoulder is moved, as well as rotator cuff weakness. One of the most common labral injuries is known as a Bankart lesion. This condition occurs when the labrum pulls off the front of the socket. This occurs most often when the shoulder dislocates. If a Bankart tear doesn't heal properly, it can cause future dislocations, instability, weakness and pain.

Bankart lesions may be treated through conservative methods such as rest, immobilization and physical therapy, particularly in older patients. However, many cases require surgery to reattach the torn labrum to the socket of the shoulder. This procedure is often performed through arthroscopy which is especially effective in treating joint conditions such as Bankart repair.

The Arthroscopic Bankart Repair Procedure

Surgery to repair a Bankart lesion is often performed through arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive technique that uses tiny incisions to insert a probe-like camera, allowing the surgeon to fully examine the area before performing corrections. After making the incisions, the surgeon also inserts specialized instruments through the arthroscope to repair the damage to the shoulder at the exact location of the injury. Any tears in the muscle, tendon, or cartilage will be fixed and any damaged tissue is removed. After the procedure, the incisions are stitched closed.

Recovery from Arthroscopic Bankart Repair

After arthroscopic Bankart repair, patients will generally be required to keep their arm immobilized in a sling for approximately one month. In addition, patients will undergo physical therapy for about four months to strengthen the muscle tissue and improve the range of motion in the shoulder. Patients are often restricted from participation in contact sports for a six-month period after surgery, to allow the shoulder to fully heal.

Risks of Arthroscopic Bankart Repair

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with arthroscopic Bankart repair that may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Blood vessel or nerve injury

Shoulder weakness and stiffness may also occur as a result of this procedure.

Arthroscopic Bankart repair results in minimal pain and trauma and less scarring and damage to surrounding tissue than traditional open surgery. There is also a shorter recovery period and a shorter length of rehabilitation than with traditional open surgery. This is often a successful option for many patients, allowing them to return to regular activities with little to no incidence of recurring dislocation.

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