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What is Bankart Repair?

Bankart repair is a surgical procedure that is typically performed arthroscopically in order to prevent repeated shoulder joint dislocations due to labrum injury and anterior shoulder instability.

Key statistics about Bankart Repair

  • The shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the entire human body[1]
  • 1% of the population of the United States experience shoulder dislocation[2]
  • 90% of shoulder dislocations are anterior shoulder dislocations[2]
  • Approximately 87-100% of anterior shoulder dislocations are related to Bankart lesions[2]
  • 89-92% of patients who undergo Bankart repair do not experience recurrent shoulder instability[2]

Expert Insights

Understanding Labral Tears - Daniel Cooper, MD

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint formed by three bones: the humerus, the scapula, and the clavicle.

3D rendering of the shoulder with colorized regions highlighting its anatomy

The labrum is a thick piece of cartilage that helps keep the ball of the shoulder joint in the socket, or glenoid of the scapula.

3D rendering of the shoulder showing the labrum and glenoid

Why is Bankart Repair performed?

Traumatic injury can cause the lower (inferior) portion of the labrum to be torn or detached from the underlying bone (known as a Bankart lesion or Bankart tear), which allows the head of the humerus to dislocate from the glenoid. Often, patients go on to suffer from repeated shoulder dislocations after this type of injury. This condition is known as anterior shoulder instability.

Bankart repair is an effective procedure performed to alleviate pain and restore shoulder stability due to Bankart lesions.

3D rendering of the shoulder showing a bankart lesion

Who needs Bankart Repair?

Bankart repair is a commonly recommended surgical procedure for patients who have experienced repeated shoulder dislocations and anterior shoulder instability due to injury of the labrum. Chronic shoulder instability is most likely to affect younger, more active individuals.

Bankart repair is necessary to address labrum damage and shoulder instability that cannot be treated with nonsurgical measures.

How is Bankart Repair performed?

  • The surgeon will make small incisions around the shoulder joint and the arthroscope will be inserted into one of the incisions.
  • Saline solution is pumped into the joint to expand it and improve visualization.
  • Images from the arthroscope are sent to a video monitor where the surgeon can see inside the joint.
  • The labrum is reattached to the glenoid using sutures and anchor-like devices.
  • If there are any tears to the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint, these tears will be repaired using sutures.
  • Finally, the saline solution is drained, instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed using sutures.

What are the risks of Bankart Repair?

Potential risks from Bankart repair may include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Recurrent shoulder instability

How long does it take to recover from Bankart Repair?

  • 24 hours after surgery
    Most patients are able to return home the same day as their procedure. A physical therapy routine will be established by the surgeon and physical therapist, and pain medication may be prescribed. A sling will be provided, but it is important that prescribed exercises are followed in order to prevent the development of any weakness or stiffness.
  • 2 weeks after surgery
    Any non-dissolvable sutures are removed and bruising and swelling begin to subside.
  • 6-8 weeks after surgery
    Most patients are able to discontinue use of the sling and resume most daily activity.
  • 4-6 months after surgery
    Most patients are fully recovered from Bankart repair, though it may take some patients up to 12 months to fully recover.

What are the results of Bankart Repair?

Bankart repair is a safe and effective procedure performed to alleviate pain and restore shoulder function to patients with inferior labrum damage and anterior shoulder instability. 89-92% of patients who undergo Bankart repair do not experience recurrent shoulder instability[1].

Coninck, T.D., Ngai, S.S., & Chung, C.B. (2016). Imaging the Glenoid Labrum and Labral Tears. RadioGraphics. 36(6), 1628-1647.
Tupe, R.N. & Tiwari, V. (2022, November 26). Anteroinferior Glenoid Labrum Lesion (Bankart Lesion). StatPearls (Internet). Retrieved February 14, 2023 from
Last edited on February 7th, 2024 5:52 pm