Surgical Treatment of SLAP LesionsIn this review article, orthopedic surgeons from the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama offer five points to help guide the surgical treatment of SLAP lesions.
SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior posterior tear. The labrum is a thin rim of cartilage around the shoulder socket. A SLAP lesion describes a tear along the superior or top part of the labrum. It starts in the back of the shoulder and comes all the way up and over to the front. The point at which the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum is also torn.
SLAP injuries are most common in overhead athletes. The symptoms are similar to rotator cuff (RC) tendonitis or rotator cuff tear (RCT). Special imaging called magnetic resonance arthrography (MRA) may be used to diagnose the problem. In some cases, arthroscopy is needed to see the tear.
For day-to-day surgical treatment of SLAP lesions, the authors make these suggestions:
labral anatomy can look like a detachment when it isn't.
placement of the anchor used to make the repair. This step can be very important to the recovery of the throwing athlete.
And finally, referral and communication with the physical therapist is essential. The wrong kind of rehab can tear the repair. And maintaining shoulder rotation is very important for the high-level throwing athlete. Basic principles for shoulder rehab of a SLAP lesion are provided.
James R. Lebolt, DO, et al. SLAP Lesions, 2007. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. December 2006. Vol. 35. No. 12. Pp. 554-557.
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