Do I Need Surgery for Dislocated Shoulder?

The shoulder is the most flexible joint in your body. This also means that it is more susceptible to strains, breaks, dislocations, and other injuries.

Normally, your shoulder consists of your humerus or the upper arm bone fitting into the socket of your shoulder blade. The socket is then surrounded by soft tissue as a means of stabilization. There’s also some cartilage and lining that allows the movement of your shoulder to be smooth.

The shoulder blade is then connected to the clavicle and your breast bone with some ligaments and tissue. You’ll often here about the rotator cuff which is muscles and tendons that cover the shoulder joint and capsule; this is what gives you the ability to stretch and reach.

Dislocations are a result of instability caused by the humerus being forced from the shoulder socket, which usually is the result of sudden injury or overuse of the shoulder. If you have a partial dislocation, it’s called a subluxation and can usually lead to full dislocation. In most cases, a dislocation doesn’t need surgery; it just needs to be popped back into place. However, those who have chronic instability and have dislocations happen repeatedly may need surgery in hopes of correcting the issue. Surgical options are open surgical or arthroscopic repairs, which are both followed by rehabilitation and physical therapy.

If you have frequent dislocations, you should talk with an Orthopaedic surgeon. They will perform an evaluation considering your medical history, complete a physical examination, and run diagnostic tests to see the full extent of the damage that might be there. They will then discuss with you what the risks are and your best options.

For more information about shoulder dislocations and to see if your injury needs surgery, contact your local, trusted orthopaedic surgeon.

This article is brought to you by Dr. Brandon Downs, of Orthopaedic Specialists, specializing in knee, hip and shoulder pain. Find Dr.Downs in Nashville, Dickson and Ashland City and online at


1912 Charlotte Ave, Nashville 37203, (615) 590-8000
415 Henslee Drive, Dickson 37055, (615) 375-8287
313 North Main Street, Ashland City 37015, (615) 590-8000