Labral (Bankart) Repair for Instability

Shoulder Surgery - Adelaide Orthopaedic Specialist

Bankart tears can be repaired via surgical intervention. Dr James McLean is able to provide this procedure using a minimally-invasive arthroscopic approach.

What is a Bankart lesion?

A Bankart lesion is a type of labral tear which occurs in the lower/front region of the labrum – the ring of cartilage which surrounds the shoulder socket. If left unrepaired, the patient will likely experience future pain and dislocation (chronic shoulder instability).

What causes Bankart lesions?

Bankart lesions may occur following an anterior shoulder dislocation (when the shoulder is pushed backward and out of its natural position). As this is the most common type of shoulder dislocation, Bankart lesions are a relatively common injury.

Anterior shoulder dislocation may be caused by traumatic impact which pushes the shoulder backwards, such as blows from sport or a car accident. It may also result from a fall to an outstretched arm. Overuse can gradually weaken the ligaments which hold the joint in place, making it susceptible to instability and dislocation.

Bankart lesion management

Bankart lesions will often heal on their own, although they may not heal in the right position without intervention. Many cases will require surgery to attach the torn labrum to the shoulder socket, particularly in younger patients who intend to remain active.

Conservative management

In the conservative management of Bankart lesions, emphasis is placed on strengthening the joint’s dynamic stabilisers to prevent recurring injury. This may be achieved through physiotherapy and specialised exercises.

Following the initial relocation of the joint and immobilisation for several weeks, specialised exercises will be recommended to target and strengthen the shoulder muscles. Dr James McLean can provide recommendations for non-surgical approaches and refer to experienced physiotherapists for ongoing care.

Surgical repair – arthroscopic Bankart lesion repair

Bankart tears are typically repaired via shoulder arthroscopy. Dr James McLean generally performs this procedure via arthroscopy.

Arthroscopic Bankart lesion repair takes place under general anaesthetic. Dr James McLean inserts a tiny camera through a small incision in the joint, which allows him to fully inspect the area before applying corrective measures.

Small, specialised instruments are then inserted through another incision, allowing Dr McLean to repair the damage at the exact site of the injury. Tears in the cartilage are repaired with tiny sutures, and damaged tissue is removed.

The tools are removed from the surgical site, the small access incisions are stitched closed, and dressings are applied to the wounds.

Recovery from arthroscopic Bankart lesion repair

You will generally be required to wear a sling for the subsequent 4-6 weeks post-procedure. This allows the tear to heal with minimal disruption. Following this rest period, you may begin to resume normal activities under guidance from your surgeon.

Your own recovery process will be highly dependent on your individual health and needs. Dr James McLean will also prescribe an individualised rehabilitation plan to improve shoulder strength and range of motion following your Bankart lesion repair.

More post-operative information

[Post-operative information for shoulder surgery]

[Flying after surgery]

[Driving after surgery]

[Life after orthopaedic surgery]

[Post-surgical shoulder exercises]

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