Historically, this surgery was the standard treatment for people with shoulder dislocations. However, with the advent of arthroscopic surgical techniques, the Latarjet procedure is reserved for patients who have worn away at least 25% of their shoulder socket or present with multiple issues that require a multifaceted approach. In these patients, Latarjet surgery is highly successful at preventing additional dislocations.

Anatomy

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of three bones: the humerus (armbone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). The bones are covered with articular cartilage for smooth, pain-free motion of the joint. The muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder provide stability and support. All of these structures allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. But this mobility comes with a price – a higher risk of injury and dislocation. Shoulder instability occurs when the ligaments, bones and muscles do not keep the ball tightly in the socket, leading to repeat dislocations.

When is surgery recommended?

Although the vast majority of people with shoulder instability do very well with simple arthroscopic techniques, there's a small subset with extensive pathologies for whom a more complex procedure is warranted. If you have shoulder instability, it's important that you consult a qualified orthopedic surgeon to select the right surgical option for you.

What is the recovery time?

Following Latarjet surgery, patients typically spend six weeks in a sling to keep the shoulder immobilized and allow the bones to heal. Rehabilitation then begins to restore range of motion, strength and flexibility. Most people return to full function within four to six months.