First-time anterior shoulder dislocation natural history and epidemiology: immobilization versus early surgical repair
Traumatic anterior shoulder dislocations are a common problem. There is a high rate of recurrent instability, especially in patients <30 years of age that are involved in high level sports. The purpose of this review is to discuss the natural history after a first-time shoulder dislocation and provide a brief overview of management options. Initial nonoperative management consists of immobilization in internal rotation for 1–3 weeks. The current evidence does not support immobilization in external rotation or for longer periods of time. For those patients who are at a high risk of recurrent instability, the evidence suggests that early surgical repair to address the pathology can be undertaken. This has shown to be clinically and fiscally effective while improving patient outcomes.