Bankart Repair Surgeon

Do you have anterior (to the front) shoulder instability?  Have you been diagnosed with having a Bankart lesion? Anterior shoulder instability can be caused by a prior shoulder dislocation. If you have shoulder instability, you may need a procedure called a Bankart repair or capsulolabral reconstruction. Bankart repair surgeon, Doctor Benedict Nwachukwu provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, New York City, NY who are experiencing symptoms associated with a Bankart lesion or anterior shoulder instability. Call Dr. Nwachukwu’s team today!

What is a Bankart tear or Bankart lesion?

The glenohumeral joint, the most mobile joint in your body, consists of many moving parts; it is a ball and socket joint in which the humeral head (top of the upper arm bone) joins the glenoid fossa of the scapula (shoulder socket) to facilitate rotation, extension, flexion, abduction, adduction, and circumduction of the arm and shoulder. However, the extensive range of motion in the glenohumeral joint is a risk factor of persistent shoulder instability, especially when exacerbated by the existence of a Bankart lesion. A Bankart lesion, or Bankart tear, is a tear in the anterior inferior glenoid labrum, or the fibrocartilaginous ligament that essentially suctions the humeral head to the glenoid fossa of the scapula. With force, whether from a collision in a contact sport, a similar traumatic incident, or repetitive motion, the humeral head sometimes travels anteriorly out of the glenoid fossa, causing a tear in the labrum where the humeral head was displaced. A Bankart lesion generally is characterized by recurrent anterior shoulder dislocation due to the weakened support of the damaged ligament. Doctor Benedict Nwachukwu, orthopedic shoulder surgeon, is skilled at diagnosing and treating patients in Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs who have sustained a Bankart lesion.

What is the treatment for a Bankart lesion?

A capsulolabral reconstruction, also called a Bankart repair, is a procedure that may be performed arthroscopically or as open shoulder surgery. As an arthroscopic procedure, time in surgery is reduced as well as having the benefit of smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, less blood loss, decreased use of narcotics, decreased rates of complication, and improved range of motion in the shoulder. An open Bankart repair may be more suitable for patients with a completely detached labrum resulting from a more violent dislocation. In its normal state, the head of the humerus remains in contact with the glenoid cavity of the scapula regardless of the position of the arm. The shoulder is ordinarily considered to be stable, notably ensured by the labrum, which seals the joint and makes it possible to maintain a negative pressure responsible for a strong coaptation between the head of the humerus and the glenoid fossa by suction effect. In an anterior dislocation of the shoulder, the labrum is often torn. This lesion promotes recurrence of dislocations and can be the cause of chronic instability of the shoulder.

How is a Bankart repair done?

An arthroscopic Bankart repair is a minimally invasive technique requiring only 2 small openings where a miniaturized optic (arthroscope) is introduced into the joint. Dr. Nwachukwu begins the operation with cleaning (debriding) and avoiding the area from which the labrum has detached. Several holes are then drilled into the glenoid bone to position suture anchors, on which suture threads are mounted. Using surgical pliers, the thread of each anchor will be passed around the labrum and then tied, which allows the labrum to be reattached around the periphery of the glenoid cavity of the scapula. Once the thread of the last anchor has been tied, the reattachment of the labrum is completed, and it regains its “suction cup” effect on the shoulder. In an open Bankart repair, the procedure differs in that it is done through a slightly larger incision in the shoulder and in the underlying subscapularis muscle and tendon.

What are the benefits of a Bankart repair?

With a Bankart lesion, recurrent shoulder dislocation is common. Undergoing Bankart repair surgery returns the glenoid labrum to its original anatomical position, reducing the risk of future dislocation. While physical therapy for an acute torn labrum can assist in building strength and stability in the joint, exercises that become too aggressive still risk dislocation. For tears that are resistant to physical therapy alone, Bankart repair is more effective at treating Bankart lesions and preventing further complications from the injury.

How long is the recovery after a Bankart repair?

Recovery time after a Bankart repair surgery will vary from patient to patient. Typically, most patients will recover the full range of motion within 3 to 6 months after surgery, especially in conjunction with physical therapy. Some cases take as long as 9 to 12 months to make a full recovery. Patients should expect to have their arm in a sling as necessary and will be advised to wait up to 12 weeks before resuming light activities, and at least 6 months before resuming contact sports. Each patient’s recovery protocol will be decided on a case-by-case basis with Dr. Nwachukwu during postoperative visits and will likely include a rehabilitation regimen that will be focused on rebuilding strength, stability, and regaining full range of motion in the shoulder joint.

For more information regarding Bankart Repair, or to see if you are a candidate for this procedure, please contact the office of Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving Manhattan, New York City, and surrounding New York boroughs.