What is the treatment for a labral or SLAP tear?
Dr. Williams will review the diagnostic imaging against important factors such as the patient’s age, activity level, and severity of injury to determine an appropriate treatment course.
Labral and SLAP tears are often successfully treated with conservative therapy measures. To help alleviate the pain, anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and icing (cryotherapy) are utilized. Once the pain is reduced or completely eliminated, Dr. Williams will prescribe an appropriate physical rehabilitation program aimed at regaining shoulder strength and range of motion.
When conservative therapy is unsuccessful, or in the cases of severe labral and SLAP tears, arthroscopy of the shoulder is recommended. This procedure is performed by introducing a small camera directly into the shoulder joint to view the labrum; shoulder arthroscopy is the preferred surgical method for this diagnosis as recovery time is remarkably decreased compared to open surgery. With a shoulder arthroscopy, Dr. Williams can determine which of the following techniques is the best repair option:
- Debridement: This approach is utilized in SLAP tears that do not involve the biceps tendon. In this procedure, the torn or frayed portions of the labrum are removed.
- SLAP or Labrum Repair: This method is routinely used in younger patients with symptoms of a SLAP tear as it allows them to remain physically active if they desire. This procedure reattaches the torn labrum to the shoulder joint socket (glenoid) with sutures.
- Biceps tenodesis: This surgical approach is used in the cases of severe SLAP tears involving the biceps tendon. In this operation, Dr. Williams separates the biceps tendon from the labral attachment site, excises the damaged portion of the tendon, and then reattaches the tendon to the humerus (upper arm bone).