The labrum is a fibrous ring of tissue that surrounds the socket portion of the shoulder joint. When this crucial structure is torn – which can result from repetitive stress, overhead use of the shoulder or fraying over time – it will likely cause shoulder pain, weakness and instability. If you suspect that you may be facing a torn labrum, you might wonder: “Do shoulder labral tears need surgery in all cases, or is it possible to recover with nonsurgical treatments?” To answer this question in full, let’s take a closer look at how labrum tears are generally treated.
Do Shoulder Labral Tears Need Surgery Every Time?
As for any orthopedic injury or condition, the appropriate course of treatment for a labral tear will largely depend on patient-specific factors. First and foremost, the location and severity of the sustained labrum damage will play a key role in determining the right treatment plan.
An orthopedic specialist may advise trying conservative treatments like resting, doing physical therapy exercises and taking medication to manage symptoms and encourage the labrum to heal on its own. So, the answer to “do shoulder labral tears need surgery?” is not always “yes.”
Surgical Treatment Options for Labral Tears
If shoulder symptoms do not improve in a reasonable timeframe with nonsurgical treatment, however, surgery may be suggested as the next option to consider. Among orthopedic specialists – including Dr. Stephen Soffer – arthroscopic labral surgery is the preferred method of treating a labral tear of any severity that has not responded to conservative treatment.
As compared to the traditional “open” method of performing shoulder surgery, benefits of arthroscopic surgery typically include:
- Less invasive
- Less trauma and scarring
- Shorter recovery period
During arthroscopic labral surgery, the orthopedic surgeon creates a small incision through which to insert a tiny camera (called an arthroscope) into the affected shoulder. This device provides a detailed view of the injury so that the surgeon can precisely remove the labrum’s frayed edges and repair/reattach any torn tissue, if needed. In turn, this procedure can help stabilize the shoulder joint to promote healing and improved shoulder functionality for many patients with labral tears.
Explore Treatment Options to Relieve Your Shoulder Symptoms with Dr. Soffer
If you’re seeking an outstanding orthopedic specialist in the Berks County, PA area, Dr. Soffer is a highly qualified choice for your care. As part of his comprehensive training, Dr. Soffer completed a sports medicine fellowship with Dr. James Andrews, a world-renowned sports surgeon. Now, he is proud to be among America’s Top Doctors and to specialize in the treatment of shoulder issues via both nonsurgical and surgical methods. To learn more about Dr. Soffer and schedule an appointment to have your shoulder issue expertly diagnosed and treated, call our office at 610-375-4949.