Bankart Tears

What is a Bankart Tear?

A Bankart Tear is a common shoulder injury that occurs when the labrum, a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint, is torn. The labrum acts as a cushion and helps to keep the joint stable. It also serves as an attachment point for ligaments and tendons that hold the joint together. A labral tear can occur from a fall or trauma to the shoulder, or as a result of repetitive overhead motions or throwing.

Specifically, a Bankart Tear refers to a tear of the labrum at the front (anterior) of the shoulder joint. This type of injury typically occurs in younger athletes who engage in sports that require overhead motions, such as baseball, volleyball, and swimming. It can also occur in contact sports, such as football, where collisions are common.

The Bankart Tear gets its name from the surgeon who first described the injury, Arthur Bankart, in 1923. The tear occurs when the shoulder joint is dislocated, which means the upper arm bone (humerus) is forced out of the shoulder socket. When this happens, the inferior glenohumeral ligament, which connects the shoulder blade (scapula) to the humerus bone, is torn. This can cause the labrum to tear away from the bone, creating a Bankart Tear.

Symptoms of a Bankart Tear can include: 

  • pain
  • weakness 
  • feelings of instability in the shoulder joint

Patients may also experience a popping or grinding sensation when moving the arm. In some cases, the shoulder may feel as though it is about to “pop out” of the socket. Patients with a Bankart Tear may have difficulty performing daily activities, such as reaching or lifting objects overhead, and may have trouble sleeping due to discomfort.

Diagnosing a Bankart Tear typically involves a physical exam, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Treatment options for a Bankart Tear depend on the severity of the injury. In some cases, conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy may be sufficient to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Dr. Greg Drake, a shoulder orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in treating Bankart Tears and other shoulder injuries. He has extensive experience in performing minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroscopic surgery, which allows for smaller incisions, less scarring, and faster recovery times. 

Treatment Options:

If you are experiencing a Bankart Tear, it is essential to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Bankart Tears can result in chronic instability and lead to ongoing shoulder issues, making it critical to receive the right treatment from a qualified orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Gregory Drake.

Dr. Drake’s philosophy emphasizes maximizing conservative and non-surgical treatment options. However, some Bankart Tears require surgery to repair the torn ligaments and labrum to restore shoulder stability fully. Here are the treatment options for Bankart Tears that Dr. Drake offers:

  1. Non-Surgical Treatment:

In some cases, a Bankart Tear may be treated without surgery. The first step is to immobilize the shoulder with a sling for several weeks to allow the ligaments and labrum to heal. Following this period, Dr. Drake may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles and restore mobility.

Non-surgical treatment is generally recommended for minor Bankart Tears or those who cannot undergo surgery due to other health complications. Recovery time can range from four to six weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the tear.

  1. Arthroscopic Repair:

Arthroscopic repair is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses small incisions and a small camera to repair the torn ligaments and labrum. This technique allows for a faster recovery time and less pain compared to traditional open surgery.

During the procedure, Dr. Drake will insert a camera and special instruments through small incisions in the shoulder to visualize and repair the tear. The torn labrum is reattached to the bone using sutures and anchors. Patients typically experience minimal discomfort, and recovery time can take anywhere from four to six months, depending on the severity of the tear.

  1. Open Repair:

If this is a more chronic condition and there is bone loss and labral attrition, a bony procedure may be required. Typically, Dr. Drake would perform a coracoid transfer if necessary to stabilize the shoulder. The recovery is similar to an arthroscopic repair.

Regardless of the treatment option chosen, Dr. Drake emphasizes a conservative, minimalistic approach to surgery. This means that he will only recommend surgery when necessary and will always try to explore non-surgical options first.

It is important to note that recovery time will vary depending on the severity of the tear, age, and overall health of the patient. It is essential to follow Dr. Drake’s post-operative instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure a successful recovery.

Why Choose Level Up Shoulder

If you have experienced a Bankart Tear, it is essential to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Dr. Gregory Drake is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with extensive experience in performing complex surgeries and managing common orthopedic conditions. He believes in a conservative, minimalistic approach to surgery and offers a range of treatment options, including non-surgical treatment, arthroscopic repair, and open repair.

With Dr. Drake’s expertise and commitment to patient care, you can trust that you will receive the best possible treatment for your Bankart Tear. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward a successful recovery.