Arthroscopic SLAP Repair
A SLAP tear is a common shoulder injury, especially in athletes who repetitively engage their shoulders, such as with throwing, swimming, or racquet sports. It’s also a common injury among those with degenerative conditions, such as arthritis.
The injury occurs in the labrum, which is the cartilage lining the rim of the shoulder socket that helps keep the upper arm bone in place. SLAP stands for “superior labrum anterior and posterior,” which describes where the injury occurs. In this case, it occurs in the top portion (superior) of the labrum, and the tear itself runs from the front (anterior) to the rear (posterior) of where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.
The pull of the biceps tendon in this area is exactly what leads to constant stress in the area – and why a SLAP tear is such a common shoulder injury. Should a SLAP tear fail to respond to non-operative treatments, shoulder surgery may be necessary.
Shoulder Surgery for a SLAP Labrum Tear
If you have a SLAP tear that has not responded to conservative therapies, you have options when it comes to surgery. At The Shoulder Institute at ORTHOKnox, shoulder surgeon Dr. David Hovis has extensive experience resolving the pain of SLAP tears. Among the surgical solutions that can successfully relieve your symptoms are:
- Surgical repair of the labrum, including removing the torn part of the labrum (a process called debridement), trimming it, and sewing the torn labrum back into place.
- Biceps tenodesis, a procedure in which the biceps tendon is detached from the labrum, so it is no longer pulling on the area, and then is surgically anchored to the upper arm bone (humerus).
As an added benefit for patients, Dr. Hovis performs these procedures arthroscopically – which means he uses only the smallest incision necessary to perform the procedure. This results in less post-op pain and scarring, as well as a faster recovery period.
Rehabilitation After SLAP Surgical Repair
Every individual’s recovery is different, depending on factors such as age, overall health, extent of injury, and type of surgery performed. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommended rehabilitation plan for the best post-op results. In the vast majority of cases, this will include physical therapy, typically beginning a few weeks after surgery.
If you require SLAP tear surgery, look no further than The Shoulder Institute at ORTHOKnox in Knoxville and Athens, Tennessee. Our shoulder surgery expert, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Hovis, offers world-class treatments that are sure to deliver effective long-term results. Call us at (865) 251-3030 or request an appointment to find out how we can help you.