A superior labrum, anterior to posterior (SLAP) tear usually occurs due to injuries during sports and physical activities such as baseball, softball, swimming, and lifting weights. If the injury is severe, the patient will most likely require surgery, which can often be performed arthroscopically.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique that uses small incisions, promoting a faster recovery and a lower risk of postoperative complications. The goal of a SLAP repair is to repair the damaged shoulder cartilage.
While superior labrum, anterior to posterior tears represent 4% to 8% of all shoulder injuries, surgery to treat this injury is relatively easy to perform if the surgeon is experienced and skilled.
Left untreated, SLAP tears can lead to chronic pain, limit how much the patient can use their arm and shoulder and cause serious, irreversible shoulder problems. For this reason, if someone has injured their shoulder, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. During the surgery, the orthopedic surgeon repairs the torn labrum, attaches it to the shoulder socket, or cuts the biceps tendon attached to the labrum and attaches it to the humerus bone. Although a SLAP repair has a 70% rate of success, if the procedure is carried out by a reputable orthopedic surgeon with years of experience, the surgery rate will increase significantly.
This is how a SLAP repair is usually performed arthroscopically:
It is important to be aware that a SLAP repair also entails postoperative risks such as infection, excessive bleeding, stiffness in the shoulder, recurring shoulder instability, and damage to the nearby blood vessels and nerves. If the patient experiences any of these abnormal symptoms, it is crucial they call their surgeon right away, as the sooner they are examined, the faster their complication will be kept under control with the appropriate treatment.
Immediately following the surgery, the patient will have to wear a sling or arm immobilizer for one to several weeks. They will have to cease working during the first few weeks and have a caretaker to help with everyday activities, including driving. The shoulder might feel stiff, which is normal. The physician might recommend light exercises or physical therapy to help strengthen the shoulder. They will remove the stitches 2 weeks after the surgery, and the patient will probably need to go to follow-up appointments every 4 to 6 weeks as their shoulder heals.