Bankart Lesions

A Bankart lesion is a type of labral tear and a typical complication of anterior shoulder dislocation. Occurring when the humeral head is compressed against the labrum, it is a detachment of the anteroinferior labrum from the underlying glenoid. The labral tear may extend further superiorly or posteriorly.

There are two types of Bankart lesions, Soft Bankart lesions and Bony Bankart lesions. Soft Bankart lesions are the most common type when the labrum tears from the glenoid. Bony Bankart lesions, although rarer, occur when part of the bony glenoid breaks off.

This injury is most likely to happen in people who participate in contact sport and for athletes that practise volleyball, tennis or overhead activities.

For more information on Bankart Lesions and your possible treatment options, call +44 (0) 203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists.

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How is a Bankart Lesion diagnosed?

Typical symptoms of a Bankart lesion include generalised shoulder pain, aching of the upper arm, and signs of recurrent shoulder instability. There is a high likelihood of this injury when a young patient dislocates their shoulder. On physical examination patients may experience a catching sensation in the shoulder, or a feeling that the arm will ‘give out’, especially on abduction and external rotation.

A Bankart lesion can be mistaken for several other shoulder conditions including rotator cuff tears, SLAP lesions and shoulder impingement. Imaging is typically used for a confirmed diagnosis. Sometimes X-ray can show an injury to the humerus called a Hill-Sachs lesion.

Frequently Asked Questions on AC Joint Separation

There are several factors that will determine the type of treatment for a Bankart lesion, including age, sporting involvement and their expectations. Normally, nonsurgical treatment is the first stage for treating the pain of a Bankart lesion. This involves resting, the use of a sling and anti-inflammatory medication.

This is normally followed by physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. The downside to this treatment is that people are likely to have a repeated shoulder dislocation. When surgery is performed to repair the labrum, there is a much lower risk of further dislocations.

Surgery can be performed to attach the torn ligament to the socket of the shoulder, and this is normally performed arthroscopically (keyhole surgery). Surgical repair of Bankart lesions is normally very successful with patients regaining normal shoulder stability and returning to sport at the same level as preinjury.

Following surgery, there will be a full rehabilitation plan that is normally made up of four phases, lasting six months in total. For the first six weeks, the focus will be on protected motion, then strengthening exercises will be introduced to help protect the shoulder as normal activities resume. Then, there will be a focus on regaining full strength and returning to full range of motion and activity level.

If you have further questions about possible treatment options for Bankart Lesions, please arrange a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists.