The capsular imbrication procedure for recurrent anterior instability of the shoulder

Michael A. Wirth, George Blatter, Charles A. Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


One hundred and thirty-eight patients (142 shoulders) who had recurrent anterior instability of the shoulder that was unresponsive to a specific physician-directed rehabilitation program were managed with an anatomical capsular imbrication reconstruction. The procedure included repair of the capsulolabral injury, when present, and reinforcement of the anteroinferior capsular ligaments with an imbrication technique that decreases the over-all capsular volume. The shoulders were divided into two groups: 108 shoulders in which the recurrent instability was related to a defined traumatic episode (Group I) and thirty-four shoulders with no distinct history of trauma (Group II). The anatomical capsular imbrication was the primary procedure in ninety shoulders and was used to treat at least one failed previous reconstruction in fifty-two shoulders. According to the grading system of Rowe et al., 93 per cent (132) of the shoulders had a good or excellent result at an average of five years (range, two to twelve years) after the operation. The results after a previous failed reconstruction were especially encouraging. Of the fifty-two shoulders that had had at least one previous reconstructive procedure, forty had an excellent result, five had a good result, four had a fair result, and three had a poor result. The results of this study suggest that this procedure restores stability while preserving a functional range of motion in patients who have symptomatic recurrent anterior instability of the shoulder, regardless of the etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-259
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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