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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prognosis

The outlook depends on many factors, including the severity of your shoulder injury, your age and your participation in athletic activity. For example, if you are a teenaged athlete and you play contact sports, such as football or hockey, after a shoulder dislocation, your overall risk of a second shoulder dislocation may be as high as 90%. Repeat injury may make your shoulder unstable enough that it needs to be repaired with surgery. Surgery usually restores the shoulder's stability and reduces the risk of future dislocation to 5% or less.

If you are an adult and have an uncomplicated shoulder dislocation, your risk of a second dislocation is low, with repeat dislocations occurring only about 25% of the time for people in their 30s and even less often for older age groups.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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