Bankart Lesion

What is a Bankart lesion?

A Bankart lesion is damage to the labrum at the anterior inferior aspect of the glenoid, or socket. A Bankart lesion occurs when the shoulder has dislocated. It may be soft tissue, or it may also include a broken or damaged piece of bone from the anterior inferior glenoid. This is a bony Bankart.

The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, and the large bony "ball" has to balance on a relatively smaller socket, in the same way a golf ball is balanced on a tee. A Bankart lesion basically involves damage to the tee. In the same way that it is difficult to balance a golf ball on a broken tee, it may be difficult to maintain joint stability and avoid dislocations in a person with a Bankart lesion.

What causes a Bankart lesion?

A Bankart lesion is created when the shoulder dislocates anteriorly. When the shoulder dislocates out of place, the large bony ball can break off a rim of the socket. Similar damage that occurs when the shoulder dislocates posteriorly is called a "reverse Bankart."

How is a Bankart leison diagnosed?

A Bankart lesion is typically diagnosed with MRI, which will show the soft tissue damage after a dislocation. A bony Bankart may be seen on X-ray or CT scan.

How is a Bankart lesion treated?

A Bankart lesion is managed as a part of managing shoulder dislocation. Shoulder dislocations may be treated nonoperatively (with physical therapy and medication) or with surgery. This depends on a number of factors that your surgeon will take into account, including how large the Bankart lesion is and whether it is a bony Bankart; your age and activity level; whether this was a first time or subsequent dislocation; and your occupation or work requirements.

What happens if I need surgery?

Bankart lesions are typically treated with shoulder arthroscopy and arthroscopic repair of the torn labrum. Occasionally, this may require open surgery or fixation of the bony piece, depending on its size.