Seventy-nine recurrences have been seen after surgical procedures for recurrent dislocation of the shoulder. There were 58 "true" recurrences, 17 shoulders with anterior instability and 4 with instability in all directions. The "true" recurrences were more frequent in young people with a mean age of 20 years at the time of the first surgical procedure. Two-thirds of them occurred on the dominant side. Most of the cases had been treated by distal displacement or lengthening of the coracoid process (38 Trillat procedures, 8 Latarjet procedures and 8 Oudart procedures). Only two had been treated by a Bankart procedure. The main cause of recurrence was a failure of repair of the antero-inferior part of the joint. Twenty three cases were operated on again, the most usual procedures being the Trillat procedure and rarely the Latarjet or Eden Hybinette procedures. Six cases recurred once again. Cases with anterior instability were observed after the Trillat procedure. They were due to capsular laxity and did not have to be operated on again. Instability in multiple directions was observed in young women who continued to dislocate their shoulder inferiorly or posteriorly, despite two or three surgical procedures.