Arthroscopic management of traumatic anterior shoulder instability in collision athletes: analysis of 204 cases with a 4- to 9-year follow-up and results with the suture anchor technique

Arthroscopy. 2006 Dec;22(12):1283-9. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2006.07.052.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of arthroscopy in the selection of surgical procedure and treatment of both acute and recurrent traumatic anterior shoulder instability in rugby players by use of pre-established selection criteria. We describe the injury mechanisms, analyze the pathologic lesions and treatment indications based on surgical findings, and assess the results in patients treated with the arthroscopic suture anchor technique.

Methods: From November 1996 to November 2001, 204 rugby players with acute or recurrent traumatic anterior instability underwent an initial arthroscopic examination. Criteria such as type of Bankart lesion, tissue quality, and presence of bony defects were evaluated and used to determine the method of stabilization: arthroscopy or open stabilization. Open surgery was indicated in patients with bone humeral deficiencies greater than one fourth of the articular humeral head, bone glenoid deficiencies greater than 25% of the glenoid extension, capsular laxity with poor tissue quality, and humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligament; all other patients underwent arthroscopic reconstruction via the bone suture anchor technique.

Results: The mean follow-up was 5.9 years (range, 3.9 to 8.9 years). We performed arthroscopic stabilization in 39 cases of acute instability; only 1 case (2.5%) required the mini-open technique for reinsertion of humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligament. Of 158 cases of recurrent instability, 121 underwent arthroscopic stabilization, and 37 (23.4%) required reconstruction with open surgery. The main cause was bony deficiency (treated with the Latarjet procedure). The results of the arthroscopic reconstructions were evaluated by use of the Rowe scale and analyzed according to stability and range of motion. Good or excellent results were found in 94.9% of cases in the acute instability group and in 91.8% in the recurrent instability group, the poor results were due to instability recurrence. In the acute instability group there were 2 cases of recurrence (5.1%) while playing rugby. In the recurrent instability group there were 10 recurrences (8.3%).

Conclusions: Arthroscopic stabilization was possible in 97.5% of our patients with acute instability and 76.6% of patients with recurrent instability based on the selection criteria for this population. We were able to obtain excellent results in 90% of cases using the suture anchor technique in rugby players with our selection criteria.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic case series.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / surgery*
  • Ligaments, Articular
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery*
  • Suture Techniques*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome