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SLAP Repair
Dr. James Chen, M.D. - In San Francisco, CA



Dr. Chen’s surgical technique for SLAP repair:

An arthroscopic procedure performed to stabilize the shoulder after an injury has caused tearing of the superior labrum. Through 2 or 3 small incisions around the shoulder sutures are introduced into displaced labral tissue. The tissue is brought to its proper position then secured to the bone of the shoulder socket by driving absorbable anchors into small, drilled holes. This recreates the normal anatomy of the shoulder socket thus stabilizing the joint.

Common Questions about SLAP Repair

What does SLAP tear stand for?

SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior. This describes a tear of the top portion of the gasket of the shoulder socket. The tear runs from front to back. The reason that SLAP tears occur in that region is because the biceps tendon attaches to the gasket applies traction to the SLAP region with external rotation of the shoulder such as in throwing, swimming, or tennis.

When should a SLAP tear be repaired?

SLAP tears that are a type 2 configuration are most amenable to repair. A type 2 SLAP tear is one that is lifted off from the shoulder socket by traction from the biceps tendon such as in a throwing or overhead athlete. Additionally, SLAP tears that accompany a shoulder dislocation should be repaired. Degenerative SLAP tears from aging or normal wear and tear are not typically repaired but are removed.

What are SLAP repair anchors made of?

Anchors for SLAP repair are made of bioabsorbable material.

How is a SLAP lesion repaired?

SLAP tears are repaired arthroscopically. Suture is passed around the torn labrum which is then anchored to the rim of the shoulder socket so that the labrum heals in its anatomic position.

How long does a SLAP repair surgery last?

Arthroscopic SLAP repair takes 1 to 2 hours to perform.

What is the rehabilitation after a SLAP repair?

Typically a patient wears a shoulder sling for 4 weeks then undergoes a physical therapy regimen. After full motions and strength are restored then the patient can return to overhead sports.

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