What is a SLAP Repair?
SLAP Repair is a procedure wherein the SLAP Lesion of your shoulder is repaired surgically. SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior-Posterior. It involves a tear of the stabilizing cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint.
This is an option which is recommended only for those who have tried alternative non-surgical options. This area of the shoulder is actually difficult to diagnose.
Who qualifies for SLAP surgery?
Pain in the shoulder that has become too severe can cause a need for the procedure. When you start to lose motion as you try and raise your hand above your head or experience weakness, these are both symptoms of tendinitis. When you try and lift things or move your shoulder may feel stiff and it might become decidedly more difficult for you to place your arm behind your back.
In order to diagnose a SLAP lesion, your Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon will typically need an MRI where dye is used. This can show the labral tear and its extent.
What is the procedure like?
During the procedure, fluid will be injected into your shoulder in order to inflate your joint. This will make it easier for the Beverly Hills orthopedic doctor to see inside of the joint. A small incision will be made in the shoulder so that the tools can be inserted. This provides a clear view and controls the bleeding.
During the procedure, the shoulder surgeon will debride frayed tissue. Also, the torn area of the labrum will be stitched back together and anchors will be used as well.
What can cause an SLAP injury?
Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint which has three bones. There is strong connective tissue which keeps your bones resting in the socket. This tissue covers your shoulder joint and attaches your arm bones to your shoulder blades. Your shoulder relies upon strong tendons to ensure stability. This area is called the rotator cuff and it is made up of four muscles which form the cuff of tissue that sits over the head of your arm bone.
Sustained stress to this region can deplete the strength and durability of the rotator cuff which can lead to throwing injuries. When the muscle or tendon in your rotator cuff is overworked it can lead to inflammation. In throwers, this regular stress can cause serious inflammation which can result in radiating pain from the shoulder to the side of the arm. For some athletes this pain can be mild and for others it can be excruciating.
What is recovery like?
You will discuss a physical therapy recovery plan with your surgeon, but after a few months you should be back to normal work. While it does not affect how the shoulder heals, lying flat could pull on your shoulder and cause increased pain. Some patients find that sleeping propped up or in a reclining chair is best during the first few days following her surgery. You will most likely be given a sling in order to protect your shoulder and you should discuss with your surgeon how long you need to use the sling.