Shoulder dislocation, also known as shoulder separation, is an acute, severe form of shoulder instability in which the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket. This type of injury often occurs due to a traumatic blow suffered in an accident or during contact sports.
The team of shoulder specialists at the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence is committed to providing comprehensive care for shoulder conditions. Our orthopedic surgeons are very experienced in treating structural injuries to the ball and socket joint and offer the latest and most effective treatment for a dislocated shoulder.
If you have suffered a shoulder dislocation, it’s important that you contact a board-certified orthopedic surgeon for care.
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How Can the Shoulder Become Dislocated?
The shoulder is a loose ball and socket joint that allows for a wide range of motion. As a result, the ball and socket joint is the most frequently dislocated joint in the body. Shoulder separation can occur in a variety of ways:
- A severe hit to the back of your arm
- Falling on an outstretched arm
- Rolling onto your outstretched arm while you sleep
- A hard pull on your arm
- Swinging your arm forcefully over your head
A dislocation of the ball and socket joint is typically diagnosed through physical examination and imaging. The orthopedic surgeons at the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence may recommend X-ray imaging to diagnose displacement of the shoulder bones or an MRI scan if they suspect damage to connective tissue.
What Happens During a Shoulder Separation?
A shoulder dislocation describes the popping of the arm bone (humerus) out of the ball and socket joint. The displacement of the humerus from the shoulder blade (scapula) inevitably causes damage to ligaments that connect the two bones within the ball and socket joint. Additionally, the main connective tissue surrounding the ball and socket joint, called the labrum, is often partially or completely torn during a shoulder separation. After sustaining a shoulder separation injury, the following symptoms may present:
- Weakness, loss of feeling or a tingling sensation
- Pain in the shoulder and upper arm
- Redness and swelling
- Increase in pain when you increase shoulder movements
Treatment Options for Shoulder Separation
The first step in the care of shoulder separation is to pull the ball of the humerus back into the ball and socket joint. When successfully performed, this action relieves some of the pain associated with shoulder dislocation. In some cases, ligament and labral tears sustained during the dislocation will not heal by themselves. Surgical repair of the damaged labrum or ligaments and removal of irritated tissue within the ball and socket can restore stability and function to the ball and socket joint and reduce the chance of having another dislocation.
The orthopedic surgeons at the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence are renowned experts in shoulder arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Arthroscopy utilizes tiny incisions and a fiber-optic instrument called an arthroscope to give live video from within the joint. Performed on an outpatient basis, arthroscopic shoulder surgery minimizes pain and reduces recovery time after the surgery.
Recovery from Shoulder Dislocation Surgery
Directly after surgery, the shoulder will be immobilized in a sling. Once the incision has healed, the patient can begin rehabilitation exercises. These will improve the range of motion in the ball and socket joint and prevent scarring as the ligaments heal. Rehabilitation may also help prevent a second dislocation in the future.
At the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence, our top priority is to provide exceptional results for our patients within a comfortable environment. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in the latest minimally invasive shoulder procedures, and are trained in both the conservative management and surgical correction of shoulder dislocation.
Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon
The Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence offers renowned orthopedic surgeons specializing in the comprehensive treatment of shoulder injuries and chronic shoulder joint conditions. If you have specific questions about treatment for shoulder dislocation or chronic shoulder instability, you can contact us by calling (888) 847-0357 or filling out our online contact form.
Please read this article on WebMD regarding shoulder separation.
Next, learn about shoulder instability.