Introduction: The aim of this study was to compare patients who had arthroscopic repair done following the first traumatic dislocation with patients who were treated conservatively, in terms of stability and function. Materials and Methods: Acute arthroscopic Bankart repair with absorbable tack was used in 30 shoulders after the first dislocation, while 32 patients who sustained traumatic anterior dislocation were treated conservatively at Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology between March 1997 and April 2001. Preoperative and postoperative range of motion of the shoulder and Constant score of all patients were recorded. Results: In the conservative group, the average pretreatment Constant score was 46.8 (range, 30 to 70) and the average post-treatment Constant score was 71.4 (range, 30 to 95). In the surgical group, the average preoperative Constant score in cases with Bankart lesion was 44.7 (range, 30 to 60) and the average postoperative Constant score was 92.3 (range, 65 to 100), (P = 0.0001). Conclusion: Our results support the use of acute arthroscopic repair of traumatic anterior shoulder dislocations with absorbable tacks. Arthroscopic repair is the treatment of choice in young and active patients who are having their first traumatic dislocation.