Technique for selecting capsular tightness in repair of anterior-inferior shoulder instability

Jon J.P. Warner, Darren Johnson, Mark Miller, David N.M. Caborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Part I of our study consisted of sending a survey questionnaire to all members of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons in which specific questions were asked about their technique of surgical repair in patients with anterior instability who had capsular laxity or injury in conjunction with marked inferior laxity. Part II is a description of the technique and preliminary results in 18 patients of a modified anterior-inferior capsular shift technique that tightens the inferior capsule with the shoulder positioned in abduction and external rotation and the superior capsule with the shoulder in adduction and external rotation. Of the members of the Society of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons who responded to the survey, 80% agreed that preservation of external rotation was important and that shoulder position at the time of capsular repair might influence the ultimate range of motion obtained. However, no more than 50% of the respondents agreed on any one position for the arm when repairing the capsule. The most common responses for each position were flexion 0° (49%) (range, 0° to 40°), abduction 30° (24%) (range, 0° to 80°), and external rotation 30° (37%) (range, 0° to 70°). The average postoperative follow-up period for the 18 patients was 27 months (range, 24 to 39 months). Of the 18 patients, 11 (61%) maintained symmetric motion; the others had minimal loss of external rotation compared with that of the contralateral shoulder. Six of eight patients with repair on the dominant side were able to return to full premorbid recreational throwing or racquet sports, and seven with repair on the nondominant side returned to full participation in overhead sports such as basketball and swimming. We conclude that this method of "selective" capsular repair may be a useful guideline to gauge the degree of capsular tightening in patients who have capsular injury or laxity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-364
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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