Variation in technique and postoperative management of the Latarjet procedure among orthopedic surgeons

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2021 Apr;30(4):e157-e164. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2020.07.027. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


Background: The Latarjet procedure has become a treatment of choice for glenohumeral instability in the setting of large glenoid osseous defects (>20%) and for prior failed soft tissue repairs. However, surgical techniques and postoperative rehabilitation protocols vary among expert shoulder surgeons. The purpose of this survey study was to characterize the variation in current practice patterns among fellowship-trained orthopedic shoulder surgeons and identify factors related to variation.

Methods: A 9-question survey was created (SurveyMonkey, San Mateo, CA, USA) and distributed to orthopedic surgeons who are active members of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons or American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The survey asked questions regarding surgeon experience with the Latarjet procedure, fellowship training, open vs. arthroscopic approach, method of coracoid-to-glenoid fixation, period of sling use postoperatively, and time before clearance to return to sport. Subgroup analysis was performed to determine whether further variation was evident between surgeons who completed sports medicine vs. shoulder and elbow fellowship training.

Results: In total, 242 surgeons completed the survey. Of these, 55% indicated performing a sports medicine fellowship and 39% indicated completing a shoulder and elbow fellowship. Among all surgeons, the classic open Latarjet procedure was the strongly preferred technique (79%), followed by the open congruent-arc (17%) and all-arthroscopic (3%) techniques. With respect to fixation, 98% used screw fixation and only 1% indicated cortical button use. With respect to the postoperative course, >85% of surgeons preferred immobilization for 3-6 weeks after the procedure and 42% of respondents stated they waited ≥6 months prior to clearing their patients to return to sport. Subgroup analysis revealed that surgeons who completed a shoulder and elbow fellowship performed the classic open technique 89% of the time compared with 63% of those who completed a sports medicine fellowship (P < .001).

Conclusion: The results of our survey study indicate an overall strong preference for the open classic Latarjet technique as well as an overall strong preference for screw fixation of the coracoid graft to the glenoid among all surgeons. Shoulder and elbow fellowship-trained surgeons are significantly more likely to perform open surgery with a classic technique compared with sports medicine fellowship-trained surgeons. Furthermore, the significant variation in postoperative sling use and return to sport suggests that further research is needed to develop an evidence-based postoperative Latarjet rehabilitation protocol.

Keywords: Latarjet; glenoid defects; rehabilitation; shoulder and elbow fellowship; shoulder instability; sports medicine fellowship; survey study.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty
  • Arthroscopy
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability* / surgery
  • Orthopedic Surgeons*
  • Shoulder Dislocation* / surgery
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery