How is a Labral Tear Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose the type of labral tear, Dr. Yau will perform a thorough history and physical examination. It is critical to determine if there is significant instability in the setting of a labral tear. X-rays and MRI arthrogram (with dye injected into the shoulder) are commonly performed to evaluate for SLAP and Bankart tears.
How are Labral Tears Treated?
Treatment of labral tears depends largely on the type of labral tear, severity, level of shoulder instability, age and activity level.
In cases of a mild labral injury, Dr. Yau usually prescribes a non-surgical treatment plan. Non-surgical measures include rest, ice, medications and a physical therapy program designed to restore shoulder function.
Shoulder surgery may be necessary if conservative measures fail or if the torn labrum is significant. Dr. Yau will recommend surgery based on type of labral tear, severity, and other associated shoulder pathology.
Common arthroscopic surgical techniques performed by Dr. Yau include:
- Debridement: This procedure is typically recommended for SLAP tears that do not involve the biceps tendon. Debridement involves Dr. Yau smoothing out the damaged area.
- Labrum repair: A labrum repair is performed to restore stability to the joint, most commonly found in cases associated with chronic shoulder instability and Bankart tears.
- SLAP repair: A SLAP repair involves reattaching the labrum to the socket using anchors, commonly reserved for young athletes.
- Biceps tenodesis: Performed for SLAP tears in older individuals or those with biceps tear. This involves removing the long head of the biceps tendon from the superior labrum and reinserting it into the proximal humerus.
- Bankart repair: typically performed in patients with shoulder instability. The capsular ligaments and labrum is tightened and repaired back to the glenoid to improve stability and prevent dislocations.
For additional information on a labral tear, such as SLAP and Bankart tears, or to learn more about torn labrum treatment options, please contact the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic practice of shoulder specialist Dr. Jervis Yau.