Q. Last night my 17-year-old son was playing basketball. While diving for a loose ball he dislocated his left shoulder. After a few minutes it went back in place. He had X-rays done that showed nothing was broken and he was given a sling. He was seen by an orthopedic surgeon who ordered an MRI scan but said my son will need surgery. This sounds aggressive and I wondered what treatment options there are.
A. When a shoulder pops out of place (dislocates) the structures stabilizing the shoulder get injured. There is a cartilage that surrounds the socket part of the shoulder (labrum) that acts as a bumper to prevent instability. The labrum usually tears off the bone and does not have the ability to heal itself.
In your son’s age group, he has a greater than 90 percent chance to have the shoulder dislocate again without surgery. The MRI scan will help determine the extent of the damage and see if a period of rehab and shoulder stabilization exercises have a chance to be effective. Fortunately, most surgical procedures can be done with a minimally invasive approach (arthroscopic surgery) with a high percentage of success.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.