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Shoulder Stabilisation

Why might I need a Shoulder Stabilisation?

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up from the head of your arm bone (humerus) and shoulder socket (glenoid) which is part of the shoulder blade. Dislocation of the shoulder damages the ligaments. In some patients the ligaments do not heal well and the shoulder remains “unstable” meaning it is easier for it to partially or fully dislocate.

shoulder fracture

What are the risks with a Shoulder Stabilisation?

The risks of this procedure are low. You will have time to discuss any risks with your surgeon, but the benefits of the procedure will most likely outweigh the disadvantages. Some risks of complications can include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Arthritis
  • Re-dislocation
  • Stiffness

How to prepare for a Shoulder Stabilisation

If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop as it delays healing and increases risk of getting a chest or wound infection. The procedure will be done under general anaesthetic and you will been given instruction as to when you should stop eating prior to the surgery. You will be explained both the benefits and the potential risks of the surgery by your surgeon. We will make sure that you feel completely at ease, and give you every opportunity to ask as many questions as you wish.

What will happen during your surgery?

The aim of the operation is to repair a ring of cartilage (glenoid labrum) around the socket. This has been pulled off during a shoulder dislocation. This will increase stability by deepening the socket of the shoulder joint and tighten the ligaments and capsule to minimise the risk of further dislocation. This will usually be a keyhole procedure (known as arthroscopy). During the operation the surgeon will re-attach the labrum and tighten the ligaments using small “anchors” – these are small hard pellets (usually plastic) with tails of strong suture material (stitches) that are inserted into the bone at the edge of the socket. The suture tails are used to fasten the soft tissue back into place. This procedure is usually done by keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery.


You will be able to go home on the day of the surgery and your surgeon will advise you on care of your shoulder in the post-operative period.

Information For GPs

If you are a GP and would like to refer a patient, ask a question or enquire about our education events, please visit our dedicated GP page, by clicking here.