Posttraumatic anterior-inferior instability of the shoulder: arthroscopic findings and clinical correlations

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The main purpose of our study was to evaluate intra-articular lesions in glenohumeral-instability with arthroscopy and correlate them with clinical findings as well as history of instability.

Material and methods:

In this prospective multi-centre study, we evaluated arthroscopic findings in 303 patients with posttraumatic anterior-inferior instability of the shoulder. The study cohort was divided into 2 groups: patients with a history of one dislocation (Group 1, n=61, 20.1%) and patients with a history of more than one dislocation (Group 2, n=242, 79.9%).


In Group 1, 37 patients had an IGHL-lesion, 31 a MGHL-lesion and 41 a Hill-Sachs lesion. In Group 2, 182 patients had an IGHL-lesion, 172 a MGHL-lesion and 203 a Hill-Sachs lesion. The percentage of lesions in Group 2 (IGHL-75.2%, MGHL-71.1%, Hill-Sachs-83.9%) was significantly higher than in Group 1 (IGHL-60.7%, MGHL-50.8%, Hill-Sachs-67.2%, P=0.0233, P=0.0026, and P=0.0033, respectively). Within Group 2 we found significantly more Hill-Sachs-lesions with a history of an increasing number of recurrences (P=0.0436). We also found an increase of IGHL- and MGHL-lesions with an increasing number of recurrences, but this difference was not significant. The distribution of lesion types of the anterior labrum-ligament complex showed no significant difference between the two groups, apart from a higher incidence of ALPSA-lesions within Group 2 (34.7% versus 18.0% in Group 1). The results of this study show that recurrences after primary posttraumatic anterior-inferior shoulder dislocation cause increasing ligamental damage as well as increasing Hill-Sachs lesions within the gleno-humeral joint.


Thus we conclude that early surgical stabilization after posttraumatic anterior-inferior shoulder dislocation is necessary to prevent increasing damage within the shoulder joint.

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