HOW IS A SLAP TEAR TREATED?
So you’ve decided to see a specialist for your shoulder pain. What happens next
Depending on the pattern of the tear and your symptoms, SLAP tears can be treated in several ways. Most commonly, they’re repaired with arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure during which the surgeon mends the damaged labrum through a pin hole incision.
Alternatively, your orthopedic specialist might recommend physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications for the affected shoulder. While it is not common that a SLAP tear heals on its own, physical therapy can sometimes alleviate symptoms if the tear is small and the shoulder is stable.
HOW WE PERFORM SLAP TEAR SURGERY
As with any arthroscopic surgery, our surgeons make a few small pin hole incisions through which to view and repair the damaged labrum and biceps tendon. If the tendon is involved or has been detached, every effort is made to repair the labrum and stabilize the tendon. If the damage is confined to the labrum, the unhealthy torn flap of the labrum will be trimmed. With this minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure, we avoid injuries to surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
Leon E. Popovitz, MD, our co-founder, has an exceptionally high success rate, and his rehab program includes a much shorter post-op immobilization period than many other programs (one week compared to the standard four).
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER A SLAP TEAR SURGERY
We will be with you every step of the way during your recovery period, ensuring that you can get back to the sports and physical activities you love as quickly as possible.
Our surgeons will closely monitor your progress after the procedure. For the first week (or up to four weeks, depending on the severity of damage), we’ll provide you with a sling to keep your arm immobilized and, if needed, prescribe pain medication. Within two to three days of the procedure, we’ll connect you with a physical therapist who will follow our directed program specifically designed to meet your needs. Physical therapy will be gentle during the first month post-op. After four weeks, PT exercises will advance, focusing on strengthening the muscles and improving your range of motion.
Your first follow up appointment with your surgeon is one week after surgery, then every six weeks until you are fully recovered and ready to return to your full range of activities. During these appointments, your doctor will examine the stability of the repair and your progress towards regaining strength and range of motion. At every step of the process, we provide the care and close attention you’d expect from your devoted orthopedic surgeon.
SLAP TEAR SURGERY RECOVERY TIME
Recovery time will vary for each patient, but in general, patients feel comfortable performing day-to-day tasks within a few weeks of surgery.
Full recovery takes a bit longer: optimal strength is generally restored to the labrum at five months. Strenuous lifting is not allowed before this milestone.
EXPERIENCING PAIN? DO YOU HAVE AN INJURY?
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