Arthroscopic Stabilization for First-Time Versus Recurrent Shoulder Instability

Authors: Robert C. Grumet, Bernard R. Bach, Matthew T. Provencher

References: Arthroscopy. 26(2): 239-248. February 2010

The purpose of this study was to systematically review the evidence on the outcomes of arthroscopic repair for anterior shoulder instability in first-time dislocators when compared with patients with recurrent instability.

We designed a systematic review with a specific methodology to investigate the outcomes of surgery for those with only a first-time dislocation versus those who underwent surgery after multiple instability events. We performed a literature search from January 1966 to December 2008 using Medline, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Key words included the following: first time, primary shoulder, or recurrent shoulder instability, shoulder dislocation, Bankart repair, arthroscopic Bankart repair, and labral repair. The inclusion criteria were cohort studies (Level I to II) that evaluated the outcomes of patients undergoing arthroscopic stabilization after the first dislocation or multiple recurrent episodes. Studies that lacked a comparison group or were retrospective (Level III studies or higher) were excluded.

There were 15 studies that met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis: 5 in the first-time dislocation group and 10 in the recurrent instability group. Study design, patient demographics, mean number of dislocations, surgical technique, and rehabilitation protocol, as well as subjective and objective outcome measures, were recorded.

There were no differences in recurrence or complication rate among patients undergoing surgery after the primary dislocation when compared with those undergoing surgery after multiple recurrent episodes. Clinical outcome measures significantly improved within all independent studies from preoperatively to postoperatively. However, because of variation in the outcome measurement tools used, no direct comparison between the study groups could be performed. Additional randomized controlled studies are needed to compare the functional outcome, quality of life, and ability to return to preinjury activity level among patients undergoing early versus delayed repair for anterior shoulder instability.

Level of EvidenceLevel II, systematic review of Level I and II studies.


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