Arthroscopic Findings in Anterior Shoulder Instability

Michael Hantes*, Vasilios Raoulis
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Trauma, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessalia, Larissa, Greece

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© 2017 Hantes and Raoulis

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Trauma Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Mezourlo area, 41100, University of Thessalia, Larissa, Greece; Tel: +302413502719; E-mail:



In the last years, basic research and arthroscopic surgery, have improved our understanding of shoulder anatomy and pathology. It is a fact that arthroscopic treatment of shoulder instability has evolved considerably over the past decades. The aim of this paper is to present the variety of pathologies that should be identified and treated during shoulder arthroscopy when dealing with anterior shoulder instability cases.


A review of the current literature regarding arthroscopic shoulder anatomy, anatomic variants, and arthroscopic findings in anterior shoulder instability, is presented. In addition, correlation of arthroscopic findings with physical examination and advanced imaging (CT and MRI) in order to improve our understanding in anterior shoulder instability pathology is discussed.


Shoulder instability represents a broad spectrum of disease and a thorough understanding of the pathoanatomy is the key for a successful treatment of the unstable shoulder. Patients can have a variety of pathologies concomitant with a traditional Bankart lesion, such as injuries of the glenoid (bony Bankart), injuries of the glenoid labrum, superiorly (SLAP) or anteroinferiorly (e.g. anterior labroligamentous periosteal sleeve avulsion, and Perthes), capsular lesions (humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligament), and accompanying osseous-cartilage lesions (Hill-Sachs, glenolabral articular disruption). Shoulder arthroscopy allows for a detailed visualization and a dynamic examination of all anatomic structures, identification of pathologic findings, and treatment of all concomitant lesions.


Surgeons must be well prepared and understanding the normal anatomy of the glenohumeral joint, including its anatomic variants to seek for the possible pathologic lesions in anterior shoulder instability during shoulder arthroscopy. Patient selection criteria, improved surgical techniques, and implants available have contributed to the enhancement of clinical and functional outcomes to the point that arthroscopic treatment is considered nowadays the standard of care.

Keywords: Anterior shoulder instability, Bankart operation, Arthroscopic findings, Hill-Sachs lesion.