The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that is stabilized & reinforced by several different tissue structures, including the labrum. Although this fibrous piece of tissue is quite resilient, the labrum can be torn as a result of overuse or acute injury. While labral injuries such as SLAP tears often respond well to conservative treatment, labrum tear surgery is sometimes needed to fully resolve symptoms. In this article, we’ll provide examples of cases in which surgical labrum repair may be necessary.
When Is Labrum Tear Surgery Necessary?
The most appropriate course of treatment for a torn labrum will vary from person to person, depending on the size & nature of the tear along with the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Experiencing one or more of the following may indicate a labral tear:
- Shoulder pain & aching, ranging from mild to severe
- A feeling of looseness in the shoulder joint
- A sensation of popping/catching/clicking when the shoulder is moved
Initially, a conservative treatment approach is likely to be taken for a labral tear. Nonsurgical therapies such as rest, physical therapy and medication are generally prescribed as first-line treatments. In the event that conservative care fails to alleviate a patient’s symptoms, however, surgical labrum repair may be recommended as the next step.
If a small labral tear does not improve with nonsurgical treatment, arthroscopic labrum tear surgery can offer a viable solution for certain patients. During this procedure, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a tiny camera (called an arthroscope) into the injured shoulder. This device gives the surgeon a detailed view of the injury, allowing them to remove the labrum’s frayed edges and any loose tissue which may be interfering with normal shoulder movement & function.
Arthroscopic surgery is also the preferred method when surgical repair is needed for a larger, more severe labral tear. In this scenario, arthroscopy provides a minimally invasive way to reattach torn labrum tissue and stabilize the shoulder joint, thus facilitating healing. As compared to open shoulder surgery, arthroscopic labral repair typically offers a significantly shorter recovery time, since it does not involve cutting through the muscles to reach the torn tissue.
Visit Dr. Soffer for Top-Tier Shoulder Care
If you are experiencing lingering shoulder symptoms, it may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon. Offering cutting-edge shoulder care to patients who live, work or play in the Reading, PA area, Dr. Stephen Soffer is an esteemed arthroscopic surgery expert. In fact, Dr. Soffer educates other surgeons on this technique as a Master Instructor in shoulder arthroscopy for the Arthroscopy Association of North America. Additionally, he provides the full range of nonsurgical treatments for shoulder injuries.
Eager to explore your treatment options with a skilled, compassionate shoulder specialist who is dedicated to helping you heal? Call 610-375-4949 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Soffer.