What is SLAP Repair?
The shoulder joint, where the humerus (upper arm bone) fits into the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade), is categorized as a “ball and socket” joint. Although this joint allows for a versatile range of motion, it is highly susceptible to injury because of the “socket” portion of the joint’s remarkable shallowness. To account for the slight dip in the scapula, a cuff of cartilage forms a pocket for the end of the humerus. This area of cartilage is referred to as the labrum.
The labrum can become torn or injured as the result of repetitive motion, a traumatic fall, improperly lifting a heavy object or other often unexpected and high-impact accidents. A specific type of labral tear is referred to as a “SLAP” tear, which stands for Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior. As such, a SLAP tear involves the point where the tendon of the bicep muscle attaches onto the labrum. Chronic shoulder pain can develop as the result of a SLAP tear, since this area does not heal as quickly or as easily as other parts of the labrum.
For patients suffering from a SLAP tear, a SLAP repair procedure may be necessary. During SLAP repair surgery, an orthopedic physician restores the torn portion of the labrum by using sutures to reattach the impaired labrum to the scapula. Generally, this procedure involves an arthroscope (tiny camera) and minimally invasive techniques that allow for tiny incisions. Minimally invasive procedures greatly reduce the risk of scarring and trauma to surrounding tissues while minimizing blood loss. When compared to traditional open surgeries, minimally invasive procedures also yield significantly shorter recovery times that typically allow patients to return to their everyday lives more quickly.
Our Treatment Approach
At OrthoCARE Institute, we encourage patients to pursue non-invasive, conservative treatments whenever possible before considering surgery. Physical therapy, hot and cold pain management methods and certain lifestyle changes are extremely effective for many men and women. For patients suffering from a severe SLAP tear, however, surgery may be imperative to achieving optimal healing.
During your initial visit to OrthoCARE Institute, one of our highly skilled orthopedic experts will carefully and compassionately evaluate your physical state, medical history and symptoms to obtain a comprehensive diagnosis. We can then create a personalized treatment plan to meet your unique needs and goals.
If you become a candidate for SLAP repair surgery, your surgeon will fully explain the procedure and its details to you ahead of time. At OrthoCARE Institute, we want our patients to feel educated and informed on their condition and all recommended treatments to ensure confidence and peace of mind throughout the process. After a SLAP procedure, patients should expect a period of rest and restricted motion followed by focused physical therapy and rehabilitation.
For more information about SLAP repair procedures or OrthoCARE Institute, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling us directly at 972-573-7802 or by filling out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to discussing any questions or concerns you may have, so we can help you regain your quality of life!