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SLAP Repair

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Evolution of SLAP Repair

Treatment of SLAP tears varies based on a variety of factors. Patient age, activity level and the anatomy of the tear all portend differing treatment strategies. Repair of the SLAP tear is the preferred treatment in the overhead athlete, and can allow for predictable return to sport with no loss of shoulder strength or stability.

A SLAP repair is performed through an arthroscopic approach to the shoulder. Utilizing suture anchors, surgeons reattach the torn aspect of the labrum to the glenoid. Caution is taken to ensure that suture anchors are not placed too fare anteriorly in order to avoid overtightening the shoulder. In older patients with SLAP tears, biceps tenodesis (detachment and reattachment) of the biceps tendon has more predictable outcomes.

Stiffness is a common complication following SLAP repair, so consistent post-operative rehabilitation is a mainstay of treatment. Most athletes return to sport at the 6-month mark post-operatively. Research has shown that immediate post-operative passive and active assisted flexion in the scapular plan helps to prevent stiffness and allow for more predictable return to sport and activity.

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