What Is A Bankart Lesion?
A Bankart lesion of the shoulder is a tear of the labrum that causes instability and recurrent dislocations of the shoulder joint. This type of injury often occurs when the shoulder pops out of joint, thereby tearing the labrum. This is quite common in younger patients.
One of the most common labral injuries is known as a Bankart lesion. This condition occurs when the labrum pulls off the front of the socket. This occurs most often when the shoulder dislocates. If a Bankart tear doesn’t heal properly, it can cause future dislocations, instability, weakness and pain.
Surgery to repair the torn labrum is sometimes necessary. The purpose of the surgery is to reattach the torn labrum to the socket of the shoulder. Large labral tears that are the result of trauma generally need to be fixed in surgery. The success rate of this surgery is quite good, with over 90 percent of patients returning to their normal activities without any further dislocations. In many cases, this surgery is performed arthroscopically; however, there are some individuals who should have a Bankart (labral) repair performed through an open incision. With a small labral tear, the patient may be directed to avoid vigorous activities that cause shoulder pain, rather than undergo surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon is best qualified to determine which procedure is most suitable.
There are two general options for the treatment of a Bankart tear.
One option is to allow the arm to rest, and the inflammation to subside with the use of a sling. This is usually followed by physical therapy to regain motion of the extremity. The potential downside of this option is that people who dislocate a shoulder once are much more likely to dislocate the shoulder again.
The other option is to perform surgery to repair the torn labrum. This surgery can be performed arthroscopically. When surgery is performed, the torn ligament is reattached to the socket of the shoulder.
The results of surgery are usually very good, with over 90% of patients returning to their activities without any further dislocations. More and more commonly this surgery is being performed arthroscopically; however, there are some patients who should have a Bankart repair performed through a standard incision.
Some orthopedic surgeons recommend surgery to repair a Bankart tear after an initial shoulder dislocation in young athletes. The usual treatment after a shoulder dislocation is a period of rest, followed by aggressive physical therapy, then a gradual return to activities. If the shoulder dislocates again, surgery is usually considered.
Some orthopedic surgeons will repair a Bankart tear after one dislocation in young athletes.
Because the chance of repeat dislocation is so high, especially in athletes who participate in contact sports, this type of immediate Bankart repair can be justified.
The concern of these surgeons, is that every time a shoulder dislocation occurs, damage can occur to the joint, including cartilage damage. Therefore, if there is a very high chance of repeat dislocation, then steps should be taken to prevent that from occurring.