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What to Expect After Bankart Repair of the Shoulder

Any injury to the shoulder is usually painful and causes limited motion. A Bankart repair of the shoulder is performed due to a labral tear and is less invasive than open surgery on the shoulder.

If you are facing this type of surgery, let’s look at why you might need it, and what to expect after Bankart repair of the shoulder.

Who Might Need Bankart Repair of the Shoulder In Seattle, WA

A labral tear is an injury to the disc of cartilage surrounding the socket of the shoulder joint that  helps to hold the joint in place. Labral tissue is soft, and if injured, can become a flexible flap of tissue that moves in and out of the joint. Furthermore, the tear can occur anywhere around its length.

Normal causes of this tear are threefold:

  • Long term wear and tear, especially in adults over the age of 40, or young athletes like baseball players.
  • Arthritis or any other degenerative disease.
  • An injury to the shoulder like a shoulder dislocation or from a car accident.

man in white shirt experiencing shoulder pain

Symptoms of a Labral Tear

This injury has some variant symptoms. Some patients report feeling like their shoulder is unstable or loose. They may feel a popping sensation, experience repeated dislocations with more overtime, and notice a chronic ache in the shoulder and upper arm. Some may feel significant pain when moving the shoulder a certain way, and others will not feel any pain at all after a labral tear.

Initial treatment typically begins by resting the shoulder to allow the inflammation to decrease on its own. OTC anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy can often help to expedite this process. If these methods do not sufficiently treat the injury, surgical repair is the next step that most patients should consider.

What to Expect After Bankart Repair of the Shoulder

Since arthroscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery, you can expect an easier post operative recovery, less pain and discomfort, and a lowered risk of potential complications.

The goal is to restore stability to the shoulder, and to return the patient to a full range of motion that will allow them to complete normal work activities as well as participate in beloved sports activities with less risk of dislocation.

During surgery, several small incisions are made around the shoulder joint to allow for insertion of surgical instruments and a camera so that Dr. Samuel Koo is able to see the entire procedure on a screen in real time. The labral tear is repaired by re-attaching as well as tightening the torn labrum and ligaments to the shoulder using both sutures and bone anchors.  

The whole surgical procedure lasts from between 1 to 2 hours. Recovery is broken up into several phases:

  • The first 6 weeks the shoulder is kept fairly immobile to allow the area to heal as much as possible.
  • For up to 8 weeks the focus is on normal shoulder movement, but lifting should still be avoided.
  • At 3 months strengthening exercises for the shoulder will commence.
  • Complete recovery is normally achieved after 4 -6 months.

If you have further questions about Bankart repair of the shoulder, contact Dr. Samuel Koo for an appointment.