Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) Lesion Tear Surgery

Surgical treatment of SLAP tears is carried out with the help of the arthroscope and arthroscopic tools.  The particular type of surgical treatment for SLAP tears is dependent upon the type of tear.  If the superior labrum is frayed but not detached, then a simple debridement of the frayed edges is carried out with the arthroscopic tools. This outpatient procedure requires a sling for 1 to 2 weeks and progressive rehabilitation that often allows return to sports within 2 to 3 months. 

If the superior labrum is detached then a surgical repair is carried out.  The arthroscope and arthroscopic tools allow suture anchors to be placed in the bone and repair the labrum to the shoulder socket. This outpatient procedure requires a sling for upwards of 3 weeks and a  progressive physical therapy program that may last 3 to 4 months. 

Return to throwing sports after superior labral repair may take upwards of 8 to 12 months.  If the superior labrum is attached but the biceps tendon is severely damaged, then a procedure may be performed to either release the biceps (tenotomy) or release and reattachment (tenodesis) to relieve pain and enhance overhead power.  The procedure specific to the biceps tendon may require a short period of sling use for 1 to 3 weeks followed by a progressive physical therapy program and return to activities upwards at 2 to 3 months. 

The specific type of surgical treatment most appropriate for a SLAP tear is determined after a careful physical examination, MRI review, and arthroscopic evaluation by your Rothman sports medicine physician.

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