What is the treatment for a shoulder dislocation or shoulder instability?
If there is suspicion of a shoulder dislocation, immediate medical care by a medical professional or an orthopedic shoulder specialist is highly encouraged.
When a shoulder separation is confirmed by imaging or physical examination, the reduction of the shoulder joint is of primary concern. The manual manipulation of the humeral head back into the glenoid socket should only be performed by a professional that is proficient in performing this reduction technique. Upon a successful shoulder reduction, the shoulder pain should be considerably diminished almost immediately.
A sling will then be applied to immobilize the shoulder joint allowing the ligaments to heal properly. Pain and inflammation can be further reduced with a combination of rest, ice application, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). If the pain and swelling persist with oral medications, a corticosteroid injection can be administered directly into the glenohumeral joint. A physical rehabilitation program will be designed to strengthen the shoulder muscles and restore range of motion to the shoulder.
For patients with severe or chronic shoulder instability, or in the event of a failed shoulder joint reduction, a shoulder arthroscopy may be recommended by Dr. Patel. This minimally invasive surgical method involves a small camera (arthroscope) and specialized surgical instruments to visualize and repair the damaged shoulder ligaments. This arthroscopic repair technique is effective for correcting shoulder instability while also shortening the recovery period for patients to return to their normal daily activities. He also has extensive experience in performing open stabilization procedures to treat shoulder instability in selected patients. Dr. Patel believes in individualizing treatment based on the injury, exam and imaging finds, patient factors, and goals.