What is a dislocated Shoulder?
A dislocated shoulder is when the ball of the shoulder joint comes out of the socket. It can come out either the front (anterior) the back (posterior) or inferiorly which is underneath the shoulder joint. The most common type of dislocation is an anterior shoulder dislocation. These can be associated with contact sports or any other form of trauma involving the upper limb.
The most prominent feature of a dislocated shoulder is severe pain. There may also be a prominence in the front part of the shoulder near the armpit which can indicate that the humeral head has come out of the socket.
The dislocated shoulder can be made with plain X-Rays. After that there would likely be a requirement for an MRI or CT scan to have a closer look at the soft tissues and any fractures which may be associated with the dislocation.
Most commonly the patient would need to be taken urgently to the emergency department to have the shoulder reduced under sedation or under general anaesthetic. Sometimes the patient may be able to reduce the shoulder on the field or with the help of a paramedic avoiding a trip to the emergency department. After that in some cases the patients may be more prone to dislocation and may require a stabilisation procedure in the future to avoid future dislocations. Stabilisation procedures can be performed through keyhole surgery in most cases.
Teenagers who dislocate their shoulders are very likely to re-dislocate their shoulder at some point in the future. So non-operative measures in teenagers tend to fail and they will tend to re-dislocate again at some point. Every dislocation is associated with the increasing risk of shoulder arthritis as the bone socket wears out at every dislocation. In more chronic forms of instability, keyhole surgery can provide a significant reduction in the risk of dislocation. Depending upon the patient’s anatomy and lifestyle, treatments are tailored to suit the patient and will be discussed at length with you.