Bankart Lesions, Labral Tears, and Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Shoulder dislocations and Bankart Lesions are common injuries, particularly for young athletes who participate in baseball, volleyball, weight lifting, or gymnastics. Often, when shoulder pain does not go away, it is because of complications caused by a Bankart Lesion, a condition where the cartilage that lines the outside of the shoulder’s socket (called the labrum) tears. This injury can be treated with surgery, but a Bone Marrow Concentrate procedure is a non-surgical regenerative procedure option that may bring faster recovery for affected young athletes, as well as active older adults.
What Is a Bankart Lesion, and How Can It Be Treated?
Pictured below, the shoulder joint is a highly mobile and complex ball-and-socket joint (1). The top of the humerus bone, the “ball,” sits in the glenoid, the “socket” (1). A strong piece of tissue called the labrum sits around the rim of the glenoid and helps keep the humerus bone in place (1).
If the arm is jerked or impacted with too much force, the labrum tissue can tear (2). When the labrum tears in an anterior shoulder dislocation, it is called a Bankart lesion (2).
Incidence of Bankart Lesions/Labrum Tears
Accounting for about 50% of all joint dislocations, the shoulder joint is the most commonly dislocated joint in the body (3). 95% of shoulder dislocations are anterior, in which the shoulder is pushed forward out of the socket (3). In an anterior shoulder dislocation, it is likely that the labrum tissue could tear, resulting in a Bankart lesion (and a now more complicated injury) (3). Bankart lesions are common in young active people, especially those who participate in sports that require one to rotate the arm at a quick pace, like baseball, volleyball, weight lifting, and gymnastics (2). It is not just young people that can suffer from this injury, though. Trauma to the shoulder from various other contact sports, falls, and trauma from something like a car accident can cause a Bankart lesion as well (2).
Bankart Lesion Symptoms
A Bankart lesion usually co-occurs with a shoulder dislocation, so it’s likely that the symptoms of a Bankart lesion will feel just like the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder. It is necessary for a doctor to examine the shoulder to correctly diagnose the problem (2).
Symptoms of a Bankart Lesion:
- Shoulder pain, especially when reaching the arm upwards; shoulder pain that does not steadily improve with rest and ice (2)
- Shoulder feels unstable, weak, or out of place: it is difficult and painful to move the shoulder in certain ways, e.g. rolling the shoulder (2)
- Limited range of movement or inability to move properly: the shoulder will lock in place, or pop (2)
Typical Treatment Options and Surgery Recovery Times
The first line of treatment for a Bankart lesion usually includes, rest, keeping the shoulder in place, and over-the-counter pain medicines (1). Physical therapy is also frequently recommended by doctors, so that those injured can work to regain strength and stability in their shoulder joint post-injury (1).
If rest and physical therapy do not diminish pain, an increasingly common treatment is an arthroscopic labrum surgery procedure. During the procedure a long, small camera is inserted into the body so that a surgeon can see the joint on a large screen and use tiny suture tools to stitch the torn labrum together (4).
While the arthroscopic process is beneficial because the recovery time is often shorter than a more invasive, open shoulder surgery, recovery still involves immobilizing slings and several months recovery time plus physical therapy before the shoulder is healed enough for strenuous use (4).
In contrast, open surgery on the shoulder involves up to two months of wearing a brace, up to four months of restricted movement, and about a year for full recovery,
A Regenexx Nonsurgical Procedure Offers Faster Recovery
For patients who want the ability to stay active on their way to a faster recovery, a nonsurgical Regenexx procedure may be the patient’s best option.
In a Regenexx Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) procedure a doctor extracts bone marrow from a patient’s own body (it is usually easiest to procure from the hip bone) (5). The bone marrow is then put into a centrifuge and filtered so that doctors can isolate the live stem cells present in the bone marrow (5). Using precise imaging techniques, and within 24-hours, a doctor then injects the patient’s own live stem cells into the problem area (in this case, the soft tissue of the labrum). Essentially the BMC procedure works by speeding up the body’s natural healing process (5).
BMC Procedure Recovery Timeline
A BMC procedure for a labral tear allows the injury to heal gradually over time (6). There are few movement restrictions post-regenerative-treatment, and it is not necessary for patients to wear a brace to keep the joint stable (6).
BMC Procedure Results
Regenexx tracks outcomes/results from procedures. The chart below shows average results for almost 2,440 shoulder procedures:
Patients who received Regenexx BMC treatment for shoulder pain were asked to report the level of pain they were experiencing at the time of the procedure, and regularly post-procedure, based on the Numerical Pain-Rating Scale (7). According to the data, the level of pain is cut in half only one month after the treatment (7). After that, the pain continues to gradually decline (7).
Patients report that their shoulder joint functions better post-treatment as well:
- Before treatment, patients are limited to an average of 65% of their joint’s maximum function (7).
- At 6 months after the treatment, patients report an improvement – an average of 82% of the joint’s maximum function (7).
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