I'm just getting over a dislocated shoulder. What can I do to prevent this kind of injury from happening again?

Researchers think that more aggressive kinds of treatment may help. A group of researchers at West Point reported on a less invasive surgical treatment for dislocated shoulders. The procedure uses an arthroscope. This camera-like device lets surgeons see the joint without making big incisions. Surgeons then insert special tacks, to keep the shoulder in place.

A young, active group of patients had this surgery within 10 days of injury. Two to five years later, 88 percent of them still had stable shoulders. They'd returned to sports and other activities. They said their shoulders were basically normal.

Even after the arthroscopic procedure, 12 percent of the patients dislocated their shoulders. What determined whether or not the surgery worked? Patients' history and condition had a lot to do with it. Patients who'd had problems in both shoulders were more likely to have another injury. So were those with more shoulder looseness and those who had poor tissue quality at the time of surgery. Playing collision sports may also put patients at risk for another injury.

Talk with your doctor to see whether surgery is an option for you.