What is the shoulder labrum?

What is the shoulder labrum?

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint, which means a ball rotates within a socket. The top part of your arm bone (humerus) is the ball and the shoulder blade (scapula) forms a socket that the ball sits in. The socket is very shallow in the shoulder and the ball could “fall” off without additional support. In many ways, it is like a ball sitting on a golf tee. In order to deepen that “tee” to better hold the ball, the body has a ring of fibrous tissue around the edge to form a bumper. This bumper is the labrum.

What is a Bankart Lesion?

A Bankart lesion is a tear of the anterior labrum; this is in the front of the shoulder. Often, this lesion is a result of a shoulder dislocation when the ball has been forcefully pushed off of the “tee” and tears the tissue as this happens. Sometimes a piece of bone, like the wooden part of the tee, can break off at the same time. As you can imagine on a golf tee, the ball is more likely to fall off again when part of the tee is broken off.

What is a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum of the shoulder. SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior and posterior. A SLAP tear is at the top of the shoulder joint. This also happens to be where the biceps muscle attaches via the biceps tendon. As such, the biceps tendon can be injured along with a SLAP tear.

What causes a SLAP Tear?

SLAP tears can be caused by an acute trauma or over time with repetitive motion. Some tears are caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, or forceful pulls on the arm. Throwing athletes or weightlifters can also develop tears with repetitive use. A slow wearing away can also occur with normal aging.

What is the treatment for a labrum or SLAP tear?

Many tears can be managed with nonoperative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. The success of nonoperative treatments vary depending on the size of the tears and the demands of the patient. If nonoperative treatments do not resolve the symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgical options include repair of the tear, release of the biceps tendon, and re-attachment of the biceps tendon. Your surgeon will decided the best option for your specific case.


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