Evaluation and Management of Failed Shoulder Instability Surgery

António Cartucho*, Nuno Moura, Marco Sarmento
Orthopaedic Department Cuf Descobertas Hospital Rua Mário Botas 1998-018 Lisbon – Portugal

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1294
Abstract HTML Views: 471
PDF Downloads: 289
ePub Downloads: 193
Total Views/Downloads: 2247
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 745
Abstract HTML Views: 312
PDF Downloads: 211
ePub Downloads: 151
Total Views/Downloads: 1419

Creative Commons License
© 2017 Cartucho et al.

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 Orthopaedic Department, Cuf Descobertas Hospital, Rua Mário Botas 1998-018 Lisbon – Portugal, Tel: +351210025354, Fax: +351210025571, E-mail:



Failed shoulder instability surgery is mostly considered to be the recurrence of shoulder dislocation but subluxation, painful or non-reliable shoulder are also reasons for patient dissatisfaction and should be considered in the notion.


The authors performed a revision of the literature and online contents on evaluation and management of failed shoulder instability surgery.


When we look at the reasons for failure of shoulder instability surgery we point the finger at poor patient selection, technical error and an additional traumatic event. More than 80% of surgical failures, for shoulder instability, are associated with bone loss. Quantification of glenoid bone loss and investigation of an engaging Hill-Sachs lesion are determining facts. Adequate imaging studies are determinant to assess labrum and capsular lesions and to rule out associated pathology as rotator cuff tears. CT-scan is the method of choice to diagnose and quantify bone loss. Arthroscopic soft tissue procedures are indicated in patients with minimal bone loss and no contact sports. Open soft tissue procedures should be performed in patients with small bone defects, with hiperlaxity and practicing contact sports. Soft tissue techniques, as postero-inferior capsular plication and remplissage, may be used in patients with less than 25% of glenoid bone loss and Hill-Sachs lesions. Bone block procedures should be used for glenoid larger bone defects in the presence of an engaging Hill-Sachs lesion or in the presence of poor soft tissue quality. A tricortical iliac crest graft may be used as a primary procedure or as a salvage procedure after failure of a Bristow or a Latarjet procedure. Less frequently, the surgeon has to address the Hill-Sachs lesion. When a 30% loss of humeral head circumference is present a filling graft should be used.


Reasons for failure are multifactorial. In order to address this entity, surgeons must correctly identify the causes and tailor the right solution.

Keywords: Failed shoulder instability surgery, Arthroscopy, Bankart, Latarjet, Remplissage, Tricortical iliac graft, Bone defect.