What is an open Latarjet procedure?

In 1954, a French surgeon named Dr. Michel Latarjet first described a surgical procedure to treat recurrent shoulder dislocations. Due to the ball-and-socket joint structure of the humerus (ball) and the glenoid portion of the scapula (socket), the shoulder has the largest range of motion of any joint in the body. However, the soft tissue restraints located within the shoulder joint provide poor stability despite the incredible mobility. This instability makes the shoulder one of the most commonly dislocated joints in the human body. When the humerus becomes separated from the scapula (shoulder blade), the ligaments within the joint are stretched or torn further minimizing what little stability they provide, and these weakened ligaments give way for recurrent shoulder dislocations.

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Who should have a Latarjet procedure?

An open Latarjet procedure is reserved for patients who have experienced the following:

  • Bone loss from the anterior (front) portion of the glenoid socket with a shoulder dislocation.
  • Unsuccessful reduction of the humeral head back into the glenoid socket; most likely from a severe or complex shoulder dislocation.
  • Recurrent shoulder dislocations creating chronic instability within the shoulder joint.

The open Latarjet procedure deepens the glenoid socket, substitutes depleted bone loss from recurrent shoulder dislocations, rearranges tendons into a sling-like formation, and relocates them to the anterior shoulder. The goal of an open Latarjet procedure is to stabilize the shoulder to reduce the risk of future dislocations. Dr. Answorth A. Allen, orthopedic shoulder surgeon, treats patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas who are in need of an open Latarjet procedure.

How is an open Latarjet procedure performed?

An open surgical approach differs from an arthroscopic approach in that there is only one, slightly larger incision across the shoulder as opposed to a few smaller ones. A small camera (arthroscope) is also not utilized as the large incision allows Dr. Allen to visualize the entire shoulder while making the necessary corrections. Studies have shown that patients who underwent an open Latarjet procedure had better Rowe scores (an internationally recognized scoring system) and shoulder stability over a 6-year period.

Depending on the injury complexity and any other associated shoulder injuries, the open Latarjet procedure is completed in approximately 90 minutes. To begin, Dr. Allen makes an incision over the anterior (front) portion of the shoulder. A section of the coracoid process with attached ligaments is removed from the scapula. This new bone segment is transferred to the anterior (front) portion of the glenoid socket and fastened in place with surgical screws.

How long is the recovery after an open Latarjet procedure?

Following a successful open Latarjet procedure, most patients can expect a return to normal activities in 3 months with a full recovery in 6 months. In general, patients in New York can expect the following:

  • Shoulder immobilization immediately following surgery with continued immobilization until 5-6 weeks after surgery. This protects the joint and allows it to heal properly by minimizing shoulder movement.
  • Application of ice packs can reduce post-operative swelling and alleviate pain. Dr. Allen can prescribe stronger pain medications to be taken as directed.
  • Within the first week of surgery, passive range of motion exercises will begin.
  • Active range of motion exercises will begin after clearance by Dr. Allen.
  • Participation in a physical rehabilitation program aimed at restoring strength and range of motion to the shoulder. Adhering to and completing this program is the key to a successful recovery following an open Latarjet procedure.

Shoulder Dislocation Surgeon

An open Laterjet is a surgical procedure used to repair the shoulder joint following frequent dislocations or injuries. This procedure is recommended for patients who have experienced frequent or severe dislocations, bone loss due to a dislocation. Complex Shoulder Surgeon Doctor Answorth Allen is experienced in performing open Laterjet procedures for patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas to restore mobility and stability of the shoulder joint. Contact Dr. Allen’s team today!