Shoulder reconstruction is a surgery to make the shoulder joint more stable and prevent recurrent dislocations. A secondary goal is to restore as much range of motion and strength as possible.

What is a Shoulder Reconstruction?

The surgeon will repair torn or stretched ligaments by re-attaching them to the shoulder socket. Anchors help the fix the tissue to the bone. The most common type of repair is called a SLAP repair, to repair the torn labrum, a piece of fibrocartilage lining the rim of the shoulder socket.

Who should have Shoulder Reconstruction Surgery ?

People with injuries to the shoulder ligaments or chronic instability due to recurring dislocations are good candidates. Typically, rest and medication management is tried first, but torn ligaments will only heal so far on their own.

Does Shoulder Reconstruction work?

Complications are rare (less than 2 percent of patients generally affected) after shoulder reconstruction surgery. Possible complications include infection, stiffness or restricted movement, nerve and vessel injury, failure of the procedure and side effects of general anesthesia.

As with any surgery, some outcomes are dependent on the skill of the surgeon and operative team. OrthoNebraska’s shoulder specialists perform many of these procedures each year. Other hospitals and general orthopaedic surgeons will typically perform this procedure far less.

What can I expect when I have a Shoulder Reconstruction?

You may need a pre-surgical physical to make any necessary accommodations based on your health history. When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll speak to your surgeon and anesthesiologist. You will likely be under general anesthesia (fully asleep) for this procedure.

This is not typically a very painful procedure to recover from, but you’ll likely be prescribed some pain medication. You can return to most normal activities when you are off the pain medicine, typically one to two weeks. You will be required to wear a sling for four to six weeks, after which you may be asked to do physical therapy to restore range of motion and strength.

Full recovery takes about four to six months, depending on the person and the specific techniques used during the surgery.