Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilisation

What is arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation?

Arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation is a surgical procedure that treats recurrent shoulder instability.

What is involved and what to expect with arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation?

Before surgery

‘Pre-habilitation’ is recommended to build strength in the muscles that support your shoulder. Starting physiotherapy before surgery tends to improve your recovery after surgery.

After surgery

Day 1 to 3 weeks

For the first 3 weeks you will wear a sling, but you will still be able to start your rehabilitation physiotherapy program.

Before you leave hospital, your therapist will teach youhow to keep your armpit clean and some initial exercises including:

  • postural awareness and scapular setting
  • core stability exercises, as appropriate
  • proprioceptive exercises (minimal weight bearing below 90 degrees)
  • active assisted flexion, as comfortable
  • active assisted external rotation, as comfortable

It’s important not to force or stretch your shoulder at this time as it may cause pain and delay healing.

3–6 weeks

During this time, you will wean off wearing the sling and progress your exercises as directed by your physiotherapist. By week 6, you should be able raise your arm to your pre-surgery level.

If you have an office-style job, you will be able to return to work during this period, if you can manage it.

6–12 weeks

Your physiotherapy program will continue to work on regaining scapula and glenohumeral stability, aiming to achieve shoulder joint control rather than range. Your program will involve:

  • gradually increasing your range of motion
  • strengthening exercises
  • increasing proprioception through open and closed chain exercise
  • core stability exercises
  • incorporating sports-specific rehabilitation
  • plyometrics and pertubation training

By 6–8 weeks you should be able to resume driving and start swimming breaststroke for exercise.

By 12 weeks you can expect at least 80% range of external rotation compared to your other side and normal movement patterns throughout the range. At this stage, you might be able to resume manual work, swim freestyle, play golf, lift heavier objects and play contact/impact sports. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on what is appropriate at the time.