Labral (SLAP) Tear of the Shoulder Surgery

Several surgical options are available for the treatment of a Labral (SLAP) tear of the shoulder.

  1. Arthroscopic Repair: This is a minimally invasive surgery where small incisions are made around the shoulder and the torn labrum is reattached to the bone using sutures.
  2. Debridement: This procedure involves removing the torn part of the labrum. This option is usually recommended for older patients or those with minor tears.
  3. Biceps Tenodesis: This surgery is performed when the labrum is severely damaged. The biceps tendon is detached from its original location and reattached to a new area.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The main goal of these surgeries is to restore stability and functionality to the shoulder and alleviate pain. Although individual results may vary, most patients experience significant relief from symptoms and are able to return to their normal activity levels.

Potential surgery complications and risks

Possible complications include infection, damage to surrounding structures, stiffness of the shoulder joint, and recurrent instability, even after successful surgery.

Risks

  • Infection: All surgeries carry some risk of infection, which is minimised through sterile techniques and prophylactic antibiotics.
  • Nerve Damage: The brachial plexus nerves near the shoulder are at risk during surgery. Damage to these nerves can cause numbness or weakness in the arm.
  • Recurrent Instability: Despite successful surgery, some patients may continue to experience episodes of shoulder instability.
  • Stiffness: There is a risk that the shoulder joint may become stiff post surgery, impairing range of motion.

Recovery after surgery

Following surgery, patients are typically placed in a sling to protect the surgical repair. Physiotherapy begins a few days to weeks after surgery, starting with gentle motion exercises and gradually progressing to strengthening exercises. Recovery varies between individuals, but most patients can expect to return to normal activities within 3 to 6 months post surgery. Regular follow-ups with the surgeon are scheduled to monitor the recovery progress.