California Orthopedics & Spine offers treatment for SLAP injuries and other shoulder problems. Our orthopedic specialists have years of experience helping patients with all sorts of shoulder injuries, and it is our goal to help you return to your active lifestyle.
SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior and posterior; the superior labrum is the top of the cartilage-like ring that surrounds your shoulder socket. The top of the labrum is also where your biceps tendon, which attaches the biceps muscle to the shoulder, meets the shoulder socket. SLAP injuries can result from accidents that cause trauma to the arm, shoulder dislocation, or repetitive motion injuries.
What Causes SLAP Injuries?
Certain types of accidents and injuries can damage the superior labrum and other parts of the shoulder. In other cases, repetitive motion injuries can cause the labrum to tear. Below are a few of the most common causes of SLAP tears:
- Car accidents
- Falling onto an outstretched arm
- Any forceful push or pull of an outstretched arm (trying to catch a heavy object, for example)
- Rapid movements of the arm when it is above shoulder level
- Shoulder dislocation
- Repetitive motion injury (throwing, weight lifting, manual labor, etc.)
SLAP Injury Symptoms
No matter what caused your SLAP injury, you will likely experience some of the following symptoms:
- Catching, grinding, or popping sensation in the shoulder
- Shoulder pain with certain movements or positions
- Pain when lifting objects or lifting arm overhead
- Decrease in strength or feeling like you have a dead arm after lots of arm/shoulder activity
Many shoulder injuries have similar symptoms, so it’s important to have your injury evaluated by a professional. Your orthopedic surgeon will check your range of motion, strength, and shoulder stability during an exam. After the initial exam, some imaging (X-ray, MRI, etc.) may be necessary to determine the exact cause of your pain. If your doctor determines that you have a torn labrum, he or she will discuss all your treatment options with you.
SLAP Injury Treatment
Nonsurgical options are almost always tried before any surgery is recommended. Anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy exercises, rest, and other rehab measures may take care of the pain. When these measures are not successful at reducing pain or restoring full function, arthroscopic surgery is the next step.
Arthroscopic surgery allows your surgeon to diagnose and repair your injury using a small camera and other small tools, eliminating the need for a large surgical opening. The camera and tools will be inserted through small openings in the side of the shoulder. These openings are only about a centimeter wide, which allows for a far less invasive procedure. The surgeon will repair the tear either removing any loose tissue or closing the tear with surgical sutures, depending on your injury. Once the repair is complete, you will rest until your anesthesia wears off. After your surgery and initial recovery, you will likely have to do exercises or go to physical therapy to ensure your shoulder regains full strength.
SLAP Repair Surgery in Novato and Larkspur, CA
If you need orthopedic care and you live in the Bay Area, California Orthopedics & Spine is here to help. Our experienced surgeons can diagnose and treat joint injuries, and one of our staff members will be happy to help you schedule a consultation at our office in Novato or Larkspur, CA.