I blew my shoulder April before this past one. I did mine wakeboarding as well. Mine was exceptionally bad the doc said. I was riding someone elses board for the first time and tried to land a pete wrapped (which was stupid, I normally pass and land fine). Anyway - the board I was on had deep center fins and when I got 'unwound' the heel edge caught but my hand stayed on the handle. The doc said what made mine so bad was that it dislocated out the back where apparently most of them are from side impact, or where the arm is overhead. My shoulder muscles locked up upon dislocation and it took 3 doses of morphine, 2 shots of muscle relaxer and 2 or 3 grown men to get it back in (not certain of the no. as I was higher than a kite).
Like you I got a lot of mixed opinions. The only reason I didnt have the surgery at the time is because my primary ortho told me he personally wouldnt operate on me since it was my first dislocation (even though he said there's a 90% chance Id have future dislocations).
Because I had a very busy summer - I ended up not getting the surgery and rehabbed the hell out of my shoulder. I have always done a lot of shoulder excercises in the gym as it was and built it back up even more. The way it was explained to me, there is connective tissue holding the ball of your shoulder into the socket - mine didnt actually rip but stretched rather. The main protector of your shoulder will be the surrounding muscle, these ligaments are 'back up' so to speak. After you dislocate it, it's not there (atleast as much) to support your shoulder if the muscle is not enough, hence dislocation.
I personally have not had one issue with mine since. When I first started riding again I could feel it a little and I was very weary of it. Now I just make sure not to land anything wrapped with my right arm just in case
. But in wakeboarding or any other activity - I can't tell the difference between my right and left.
Obviously this is a case-by-case basis. If you opt for surgery - research the ortho, ive heard it makes a huge difference.
If you don't have surgery - first off rest and give it ample time to heal. Secondly build your shoulder muscles up and keep them in shape.
I guess I just wanted to let you know that you can dislocate your shoulder and it not be the end of the world. Most of the people I talked to who didn't have the surgery ended up having theirs pop out over and over again, and statistics like 90% recurrence rate almost scares you into the surgery. There's also a lot of these people I spoke to I know never hit the gym or stayed in shape. Let us know what you decide...