A Note from Dr. Spencer on Instability

Posterior instability (instability where the shoulder dislocates or partially dislocates backwards) is not as common as anterior instability were the shoulder dislocates towards the front. Anterior instability is usually secondary to a traumatic event where is posterior instability is frequently associated with repetitive loading. Repetitive loading is common in sports- especially in football lineman.

As opposed to anterior instability, posterior instability is frequently associated with pain and can occur without a true labral tear. It is more commonly associated with laxity in the posterior capsule. In cases where Physical Therapy does not achieve stability, surgical reconstruction of the posterior capsule can be performed.

The following is a case of an arthroscopic posterior capsulorraphy. In this case the posterior capsule and inferior capsule are tightened to treat the laxity and restore stability to the shoulder. These arthroscopic techniques allow the capsule to be tightened with minimal disruption of the surrounding soft tissue envelope.