Labral Repair Surgery
repair is a surgical procedure used to correct damage to the cartilage
of the shoulder. Labral tears
are a common sports
injury and can occur
with shoulder dislocations and in overhead athletes.
the meniscus in the knee, the labrum in the shoulder does not heal well
on its own and surgical intervention is often required to return your
shoulder to normal.
most reliable test to determine if you have a labral tear is an MRI
Arthrogram. This is a special type of MRI where a dye is injected into
the shoulder joint. This dye is picked up by the MRI and if there is a
labral tear, the dye will leak out of the shoulder joint. A regular MRI
may miss a labral tear and so if your doctor is concerned about a
labral tear, he should order an MRI Arthrogram.
Labral surgery begins with a diagnostic
. This allows your surgeon to be able to look
shoulder and find out exactly what is wrong.
with an MRI
Arthrogram, the exact extent of the injury is not known until they get
inside your shoulder.
Using a small camera and
small tools your surgeon will be able to probe the labrum and find the
areas that are torn. Once they find your labral tear, they will debride
the tissue, removing any damage and trimming it down to healthy tissue.
Next, they will place small anchors into the
glenoid (shoulder socket) bone. These anchors will have sutures
attached to them and are what will re-attach the labrum to the bone.
Most labral repairs require 2-3 anchors, depending on the location and
size of the tear.
After the anchors are placed,
the sutures are run through the labrum and then pulled tight to
re-attach the tissue to the bone. The sutures are tied off and the
repair is complete.
Your surgeon will probe the
labrum to make sure that is is firmly reattached to the bone and then
they will close your incisions with sutures or staples.
labral surgeries are performed arthroscopically, however some
will choose to perform this procedure using an open technique. There
are some benefits and drawbacks to arthroscopic and
After SurgeryRehabilitation after a labral repair
soon after surgery. I usually see patients within the first 2-3 days
after surgery to check their incisions, help reduce their pain, and to
start range of motion exercises. There are some restrictions that
should be observed in order to allow the labrum to heal and to protect
You will be placed in a sling for the
first 2-4 weeks after surgery. This time frame will vary greatly
depending on your surgeons preferences. Using a sling keeps the
shoulder safe and prevents unwanted stress on the repair. Range
should also be restricted after surgery. During the
weeks, it is important to limit your motion in order to allow the
repair to heal. Many physicians will restrict motion to shoulder level
or lower. Pain is a good guide. Range of motion exercises should not be
After the first 2-3 weeks, you can start
progressing your range of motion, and begin light strengthening
. Supervised rehabilitation is important after
in order to fully recover.
A full recovery after
labral repair usually takes 3-5 months to return to full activities.
For overhead throwers, this time frame may be longer.
repair surgery is an effective treatment for labral tears. This
procedure can be performed arthroscopically or as an open procedure.
Utilizing anchors and sutures, your surgeon can re-attach the labrum to
the glenoid and restore normal shoulder anatomy. Rehabilitation after
surgery is essential for a full recovery. You should be back to full
activities in 3-5 months depending on your activity levels.
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