Superior Labrum, Anterior to Posterior tears (commonly referred to as SLAP tears or labrum tears), represent roughly 4 to 8% of all shoulder injuries.
If conservative treatment measures such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) and physical therapy do not relieve symptoms, a SLAP repair procedure will likely be recommended.
How is a SLAP Repair performed?
A SLAP repair is a minimally invasive surgery that uses an arthroscope, a tube with a light and camera on the end that projects images onto a monitor for your surgeon to view inside your joint. The type of SLAP repair depends on the type of tear involved and will be determined once your surgeon views the joint. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and a nerve block.
- Your surgeon first makes small incisions to insert the arthroscope and thin surgical instruments into the shoulder joint.
- Your surgeon will then identify the type of SLAP tear and remove the damaged tissue of the labrum.
- A small hole is then drilled into the bone of the shoulder socket close to the labral tear.
- Your surgeon will place an anchor into the drilled hole with a strong suture.
- Additional anchors can be placed as required for securing the torn labrum to the bone of the shoulder socket.
- Finally, the torn labrum is tied to the bone with the sutures.
After the procedure, your arm will be placed in a sling for the first 3 weeks to immobilize the shoulder joint and you will be advised to restrict active motion of your shoulder for about 6 weeks. Through physical therapy, you can slowly regain motion and strengthen the shoulder. You can resume sports activities after consulting with your physical therapist and surgeon. You should avoid driving for a few weeks after the surgery.
What are the Advantages of SLAP Repair?
A SLAP repair involves the reattaching of the labrum to its normal anatomical position; thereby, restoring the anatomy of the shoulder. The procedure also allows the normal functioning of the previously damaged labrum and biceps attachment.
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