After an appraisal of ten research articles, we conclude that the use of surgical intervention is more effective than a standard physical therapy program for preventing recurrent dislocations, increasing the likelihood of one returning to prior level of function, and improving self assessment outcome scores in younger patients with a primary anterior shoulder dislocation. Despite the support for surgical stabilization, it should be noted that many of these studies had significant threats to internal validity. A different surgical approach was used in each study and only 2 of the studies provided detailed information regarding the physical therapy program. In addition, many patients in the physical therapy cohorts were able to return to their sport with little to no restrictions despite the fact those in the physical therapy groups demonstrated lower mean functional outcomes scores.
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