We studied retrospectively a consecutive series of 547 shoulders in 529 patients undergoing operation for instability. In 41, the cause of instability was considered to be lateral avulsion of the capsule, including the inferior glenohumeral ligament, from the neck of the humerus, the HAGL lesion. In 35, the lesion was found at first exploration, whereas in six it was noted at revision of a previous failed procedure. In both groups, the patients were older on average than those with instability from other causes. Of the primary cases, in 33 (94.3%) the cause of the first dislocation was a violent injury; six (17.4%) had evidence of damage to the rotator cuff and/or the subscapularis. Only four (11.4%) had a Bankart lesion. In patients undergoing a primary operation in whom the cause of the first dislocation was a violent injury, who did not have a Bankart lesion and had no suggestion of multidirectional laxity, the incidence of HAGL was 39%.