Purpose: To report the long-term results of a prospective randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of immediate arthroscopic stabilization versus immobilization and rehabilitation after a first traumatic anterior dislocation of the shoulder.
Type of study: Randomized clinical trial.
Methods: Forty subjects younger than 30 years with a first traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation were randomized to receive immediate anterior stabilization plus rehabilitation or immobilization followed by rehabilitation. Patients completed the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), and the Western Ontario Shoulder Instability Index (WOSI) questionnaires.
Results: At an average follow-up of 75 months, there was a significant difference in the rate of redislocation between the groups but no statistical significant difference in shoulder function with the ASES or the DASH. The mean difference between the 2 groups with the WOSI estimates a small, but clinically significant difference.
Conclusions: It is recommended that immediate arthroscopic stabilization is the treatment of choice in a subset of patients who are younger than 30 years and are higher level athletes, and the timing for surgery is good or their sport is risky, i.e., rugby, football, kayaking, rock climbing.
Level of evidence: Level II.