What is the treatment for a labral or SLAP tear?
Patients with a confirmed mild labral or SLAP tear often respond well to non-surgical therapies. A combination of rest and ice precautions as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are encouraged for pain and inflammation management. Once the pain and inflammation are well-controlled, Dr. Patel will prescribe a physical rehabilitation program that focuses on strengthening the shoulder and improving range of motion.
For patients that suffered a severe labral or SLAP tear, or in the event of unsuccessful non-operative treatment, a shoulder arthroscopy may be recommended by Dr. Patel. This surgical procedure introduces a small camera (arthroscope) to visualize the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder joint. This arthroscope provides a minimally invasive technique for Dr. Patel to determine which of the following procedures is the best repair option:
- Debridement: This procedure employs special surgical instruments to excise and remove the frayed or torn fragments of the labrum. The simplest approach for treatment is often reserved for patients with small labral tears that do not involve the biceps tendon.
- SLAP repair: Younger patients with symptoms of a SLAP tear and who desire to remain physically active will undergo this procedure. This routine surgical technique fastens the torn labrum to its correct anatomical position with special surgical anchors that are secured within the bone.
- Biceps tenodesis: Dr. Patel will elect this surgical approach for patients with severe SLAP tears that involve the biceps tendon. In this procedure, the damaged fragments of the biceps tendon are excised and removed. The remaining tendon is then separated from its labral attachment site, known as a tenotomy, and secured in place on the humerus with special surgical anchors.