SLAP tears are common shoulder problems that arise mainly during sport-related activities. These injuries occur in the labrum of the shoulder. Labrum is a ring of cartilage tissues that surround the shoulder socket. This piece of tissue helps to stabilize the shoulder joint & deepen the socket. It is also a point of attachment to many other ligaments.
SLAP refers to Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. The top portion of the labrum may be injured in a SLAP injury. Tear can occur to both front and back of labrum. Biceps tendon may be also involved in injuries.
The conditions that can result in SLAP injuries are as follows:
- Shoulder dislocation.
- Motor vehicle accident.
- Forceful arm movement over the shoulder level.
- A fall onto an arm that is outstretched.
- Rapid pulling on the arm. This happens when trying to catch a very heavy object.
The treatment is decided on the basis of the various factors like type of slap tear, level of activity, age etc. The procedure involves the following steps:
- Identification of the SLAP tear and removal of damaged/excess tissue.
- A small incision is made in the site where the labrum has been torn off.
- A suture attached to the anchor is placed into this orifice.
- The use of suture is used to tie the labrum strongly into the bone.
- For securing the torn labrum, additional labrum are also provided.
Immobilization or very restricted motion is usually administered for almost 6 weeks. Once healing has been attained to certain level, physical therapy is administered. Succeeding this, exercises for strengthening are also done to regain the original level of movements.
Arthroscopic slap repair is a reliable method because of several reasons. One of the main advantages is that normal range of motion is attained after the surgery & rehabilitation.