It's Not All About Redislocation: A Systematic Review of Complications After Anterior Shoulder Stabilization Surgery

Huw Lloyd Morgan Williams, Jonathan Peter Evans, Nicholas Duncan Furness, Christopher David Smith
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2019, 47 (13): 3277-3283

BACKGROUND: The surgical treatment of recurrent shoulder instability has evolved in recent years to include a variety of soft tissue and bone block procedures, undertaken with either an open or arthroscopic approach. Although the utilization of such techniques has rapidly expanded, the associated risk of complications remains poorly defined. This information is vital for clinical decision making and patient counseling.

PURPOSE: To quantify the complication rate associated with all types of surgery for anterior glenohumeral joint dislocation.

STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review.

METHODS: A systematic search was undertaken of studies reporting complications from anterior shoulder stabilization surgery. Inclusion criteria were studies published in English between 2000 and 2017 with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Methodological quality of the included studies was assessed with the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies criteria. Complication rates for all undesirable events contributing to the patient outcome were extracted and cumulative rates calculated.

RESULTS: Out of 1942 references, 56 studies were included, totaling 4362 procedures among 4336 patients. Arthroscopic soft tissue repair had a complication rate of 1.6% (n = 2805). When repair was combined with arthroscopic remplissage, the rate was 0.5% (n = 219). Open soft tissue repair had a complication rate of 6.2% (n = 219) and open labral repair with remplissage, a rate of 2.3% (n = 79). An open bone block procedure had a complication rate of 7.2% (n = 573) and an arthroscopic bone block procedure, a rate of 13.6% (n = 163).

CONCLUSION: This large systematic review demonstrates the overall complication rates (not purely recurrence rates) in modern shoulder stabilization surgery. With the growing interest in bone block stabilization procedures, including those performed arthroscopically, surgeons should be aware of the 10-fold increase in complications for these procedures over soft tissue arthroscopic surgery and counsel their patients accordingly.

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