Arthroscopic SLAP Tear Treatment in Pittsburgh, PA
A SLAP tear is a painful shoulder injury that affects the superior (upper) portion of the labrum at the point where it attaches to the biceps tendon. The labrum is a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that cushions and reinforces the shoulder socket. SLAP is short for “superior labrum anterior and posterior (in relation to the biceps tendon).”
A SLAP tear can occur suddenly with a direct blow to the shoulder, or it can develop gradually through repetitive overhead twisting motions, such as those involved in a tennis serve or baseball pitch. Usually, SLAP tear treatment begins conservatively with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce painful inflammation, followed by physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder joint and restore its range of motion. If the symptoms do not improve with nonsurgical therapies, arthroscopic SLAP tear treatment may be considered.
What Does an Arthroscopic SLAP Tear Repair Involve?
The optimal surgical approach can vary based on several unique factors that are unique to each patient. For instance, if appropriate, a surgeon may reattach or remove the damaged portion of the labrum or create a more secure attachment point for the biceps tendon. In general, when performing an arthroscopic SLAP tear, a surgeon will:
Access the Shoulder Joint
Once the patient is properly positioned and the surgical site has been cleaned and sterilized, the surgeon will make a few small incisions, then insert a miniature camera through one incision and use the other incisions as access points for surgical tools. The camera will capture high-definition images of the interior of the shoulder joint and send those images directly to a nearby video screen.
Guided by real-time imagery, the surgeon will remove any loose tissue from the shoulder joint, then create a small hole in the glenoid bone near the labral tear. In the newly created hole, the surgeon will place a tiny anchor tied to a suture. A severe tear may require the placement of multiple anchors.
Repair the Torn Labrum
The surgeon will then tie each suture around the torn labrum. The goal of an arthroscopic SLAP tear repair is to firmly reattach the torn labrum to the glenoid.
What Happens After an Arthroscopic SLAP Tear Repair?
After removing the camera and surgical tools, the surgeon will close and bandage the incisions. Most patients wear a sling for two to four weeks and participate in physical therapy to promote recovery. In general, a full return to daily activities can be expected within three to six months.
Consult With a Highly Acclaimed Shoulder Surgeon in Pittsburgh
If you would like to learn more about arthroscopic SLAP tear treatment, you can consult with Christopher C. Schmidt, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic shoulder surgeon who practices in Pittsburgh, PA. Considered by many to be the best shoulder surgeon in Pittsburgh, Dr. Schmidt regularly contributes to the development of groundbreaking surgical techniques and often receives complex case referrals from other surgeons.
Contact Dr. Schmidt’s office today at (877) 471-0935 to schedule a consultation.