Shoulder instability is common after trauma and injury (e.g. dislocation) and in some cases can occur without injury due to ligamentous laxity or other anatomical variants. Those wishing to pursue an active lifestyle often find this instability to be unacceptable causing disability and may opt for surgical stabilisation. 


Recurrent instability that does not respond to other forms of non-operative management (e.g. physiotherapy, activity modification, strapping) often requires surgical stabilisation to restore confidence and function. Difficulty with shoulder use, particularly overhead activities, will often prompt patients to consider surgical intervention.


Patients typically present with a clear history of instability that is impacting on their vocational and personal activities – often with increasing frequency. Dr Bartlett will ask you questions about your affected shoulder before conducting a thorough examination that elicit signs of instability. In most cases an MRI is required to help define the extent of the injury and to help guide surgical planning.

Surgical Detail

Shoulder stabilisation surgery is performed under general anaesthetic through a small incision around the affected side to allow access based on clinical and radiological findings. You will be placed into a sling to help protect the repair during the recovery phase.


Most patients typically spend one night in hospital to monitor and manage pain and go home the following day. Dr Bartlett and a physiotherapist will see you post-operatively to explain your surgical findings and commence your rehabilitation program. It may be necessary to make alternate arrangements during your rehabilitation to accommodate post-operative precautions that have been imposed to protect your repair. At 2 weeks Dr Bartlett will check your wound and assess your progress.

Key Points

  • Recurrent instability common

  • Poorly tolerated

  • Often requires surgical stabilisation to afford function/QOL