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Shoulder instability is a condition that develops when the connective tissues like ligaments and the cartilage that support the shoulder joint get overstretched or tear. The shoulder then becomes loose and unstable.

Shoulder instability is usually a result of damage to the labrum, which is a ring of tough cartilage that lines the shoulder socket, helping to stabilize the shoulder joint. If the labrum tears, it can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Feeling of looseness

  • Lack of strength

  • Swelling

  • Severe pain

  • Loss of sensation

  • Clicking, popping or grinding sounds in the joint

  • Partial paralysis or loss of function

  • Recurrent dislocations

  • Arthritis of the shoulder

Labral tears usually occur because of an injury, such as falling on your arm when it's outstretched or playing sports that involve a lot of overhead movements, like basketball.

In some cases, patients have shoulder instability due to previous failed surgeries. These require revision surgery to repair the damage properly and prevent further problems. Treatment for labral tears and shoulder instability starts with conservative approaches, including:

  • Resting the shoulder

  • Immobilization of the joint

  • Prescription medications

  • Physical therapy

  • Regenerative medicine

If these treatments aren't helping your shoulder to heal, Dr. Bishai may recommend shoulder reconstruction surgery.

During shoulder reconstruction, Dr. Bishai reattaches the torn labrum using special anchors that hold it in place in the shoulder socket. He also repairs the stretched and torn ligaments in the joint, and any overstretched joint capsules. Depending on the extent of the damage, reconstruction may be a complex process, requiring exceptional surgical skill. This is often the case when the team is carrying out revision surgery on a shoulder joint.

Many patients can have shoulder reconstruction surgery using arthroscopic techniques. Arthroscopy is a form of minimally invasive joint surgery that requires far smaller incisions than traditional open surgery. The arthroscope is a slender, flexible tube that your surgeon passes through small incisions into your shoulder, using a video feed sent back from a camera on the end of the arthroscope to carry out the procedure.


“Dr. Bishai is wonderful! Can't praise him enough. Had both shoulders done. He explained everything to me. Highly recommend him!!!” 

—  Pat P.

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