Return to Sports After Shoulder Stabilization Surgery for Anterior Shoulder Instability

Michael J. Elsenbeck, Jonathan F. Dickens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Young athletes continue to experience traumatic shoulder instability and are often plagued by recurrent instability, limiting their return to sport. The purpose of this paper was to review return to sport in athletes after shoulder stabilization surgery for anterior shoulder instability. Recent Findings: Athletes managed nonoperatively demonstrate unacceptably high rates of recurrent instability and are less likely to successfully return to sport. Operative management includes capsuloligamentous repair (arthroscopic versus open) and bone augmentation techniques. While modern arthroscopic techniques have provided favorable outcomes, open techniques have demonstrated lower recurrence rates among young collision athletes. A subset of athletes continue to experience recurrent instability, leading to further investigation of concomitant pathologies, which may put patients at risk of failure following Bankart repair. Bony augmentation procedures remain favorable for patients with glenoid bone loss; however, what constitutes critical bone loss in the decision between anterior labral repair versus bone augmentation has recently been questioned. Summary: Operative management of anterior shoulder instability provides superior results, including lower recurrent instability and return to sport. Future research on patient-specific risk factors may aid surgical decision-making and optimization of outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-498
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Athletes
  • Bankart repair
  • Return to sport


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