The Latarjet procedure or a coracoid transfer procedure is sometimes used to treat shoulder instability. This procedure is used when the glenoid bone has been worn down and can no longer support the ball of the shoulder joint. The procedure can also be used for patients who already had other surgery on the shoulder that failed. The long-term results of the Latarjet procedure are very good and the recurrence rate of another dislocation is low. The downside of the procedure compared to arthroscopic soft tissue repairs is that the complication rate is a little higher for the Latarjet. The complications that can occur are infection, failure of the bone to heal, need for another surgery to remove the screws, loss of shoulder motion, and nerve injury leading to numbness or weakness.
The surgery is done under general anesthesia. We inject numbing medicine around the nerves of the shoulder to minimize pain after the surgery. The surgery will take 2 hours to perform and a 4 inch incision is used over the front of the shoulder. The coracoid bone is moved from its normal location on the front of the shoulder to the front of the shoulder joint. The bone is fixed with two screws. The biceps muscle is still attached to the coracoid and will work normally after everything heals from the surgery.
For the first six weeks after the surgery, the repair must be protected by not engaging the biceps muscle or the shoulder muscles. A sling must be worn for 6 weeks to protect the repair. After 6 weeks, the shoulder can be used for light lifting. After 10 weeks, a strengthening program can start. Once the coracoid bone has healed on the xray, the shoulder can be used for normal activity. Contact sports can be started as soon as the strength in the shoulder is back to normal.