Posterior shoulder instability accounts for a small proportion of all shoulder instability, although it can affect athletes of all types, from contact to overhead athletes. Surgical treatment is quite successful in these patients; however, the literature reports a wide range of rates of return to sport.
The purpose was to determine the return-to-sport rates after surgical stabilization for posterior shoulder instability. It was hypothesized that patients would experience a high rate of return to sport.
Systematic review and meta-analysis; Level of evidence, 4.
Embase, PubMed, and MEDLINE were searched for relevant literature from database inception until April 2020, and studies were screened by 2 reviewers independently and in duplicate for studies reporting rates of return to sport after surgical management of posterior shoulder instability. Demographic data as well as data on return to sport and functional outcomes were recorded. A meta-analysis of proportions was used to combine the rates of return to sport using a random effects model. A risk of bias was assessed for all included studies.
Overall, 32 studies met inclusion criteria and comprised 1100 patients (1153 shoulders) with a mean age of 22.8 years (range, 11-65) and a mean follow-up of 43.2 months (range, 10-228). The pooled rate of return to any level of sport was 88% (95% CI, 84%-92%; I2 = 68.7%). In addition, the pooled rate of return to the preinjury level was 68% (95% CI, 60%-76%; I2 = 79%). Moreover, the pooled return-to-sport rate for contact athletes was 94% (95% CI, 90%-97%; I2 = 0%), while for throwing athletes it was 88% (95% CI, 83%-92%; I2 = 0%).
Surgical management of posterior shoulder instability resulted in a high rate of return to sport, as well as significant pain reduction and functional improvement in most patients. However, only two-thirds of athletes can return to their preinjury levels of sport.