What Surgeries Are Available for Bankart Repairs?

If shoulder instability or dislocations continue to occur after conservative treatment, patients diagnosed with Bankart lesions may require surgery to stabilize the joint. Depending on the severity of the labrum injury and associated damage, operating physicians may recommend arthroscopic or open surgery as Bankart repair solutions.

  • Arthroscopic Surgery – This procedure is minimally invasive and involves minute incisions around the shoulder area. Using a small camera with a light source known as an arthroscope, surgeons can better visualize the damaged shoulder internally. With the help of small specialized tools, surgeons fix anchors in the shoulder socket and reattach the torn labrum using stitches and sutures. Arthroscopy is generally preferred for its less intrusive approach and faster healing.
  • Open Surgery – This technique involves shoulder stabilization using a more intrusive surgical method. The operating physician makes a large incision across the front of the shoulder to reposition and reattach the torn labrum and ligaments. This procedure is recommended for individuals that have suffered a Bankart lesion following a violent dislocation. Healthy patients generally respond well to the operation and can resume easy movement and light activities that don't involve contact after 6 to 12 weeks.

Both types of surgical treatments are performed using general anesthesia and can last between 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours to complete. Additionally, physicians may use a regional block using a local anesthetic to numb the arm's nerves for pain relief lasting up to 24 hours. After the procedure is complete, the incisions are stitched closed, and a sizeable dressing is applied over the wound.

Like other operations, Bankart repair involves certain risks that specialized surgical teams drastically minimize but cannot completely eliminate. Even though complications rarely happen following this type of intervention, associated risks may include:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Ongoing instability
  • Painful sensations
  • Infections
  • Nerve and/or blood vessel damage
  • Additional interventions