SLAP Repair

What is a SLAP Repair?

Surgery for a SLAP repair is a procedure to repair a specific type of labral tear within the shoulder joint. A SLAP tear occurs where the bicep tendon attaches to the labrum on the top of the shoulder socket. When a SLAP tear is causing pain that doesn’t reduce or improve with non-surgical treatment surgery may be needed.

How do you prepare for a SLAP Repair?

There are many things that can be done to prepare for any surgery and specifically SLAP repair. Make sure you speak in depth with your surgeon and are comfortable leading up to your surgery. Generally, you will have a physical examination before any surgery to confirm you are well enough to undergo the procedure. This can be done in conjunction with prescribing pain medication for the recovery. Make sure to have any prescription filled prior to.

Some basic things are to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery. If you develop any health concerns leading up to surgery make sure to let your surgeon know. This could be something as innocent as a cough or elevated temperature.

Why is a SLAP Repair performed?

Pain and loss of function with the shoulder are the main indications for why a surgical SLAP repair is performed. The tear can be caused by an acute injury or chronic use. Depending on those factors plus your age, health, and level of activity you are aiming to return back to, surgery main be indicated.

What can you expect during a SLAP Repair?

Surgery for a SLAP repair is commonly down under general anesthesia within an outpatient ASC (ambulatory surgery center). You will be very comfortable leading up to and during the procedure.

The procedure is done arthroscopically using a tiny, tube-like, camera called an arthroscope to be used to give a visual of the surgery. A full sutured reattached may be performed to fix the torn labrum or a debridement, which simply removes extra or damaged tissue.

What is the followup and recovery like for a SLAP Repair?

Once you recover from the anesthesia, you can go home later that same day. Pain is a part of any surgical procedure. Your doctor will prescribe any necessary medication to deal with short term pain.

Long term recovery and strength will be centered around a physical therapy rehabilitation program. Make sure to have one in place before surgery. The goal is to quickly and safely get you back to “active” motions to bring the should back to strength, which can take several weeks.

What are the potential costs for a SLAP Repair?

Surgery for a SLAP repair is generally covered by most insurance plans. Please contact our office to make sure your benefits cover the procedure. Our staff will make sure to contact your insurance provider so we can clearly talk about any potential cost you may have to cover.

What are the potential risks for a SLAP Repair?

SLAP repair surgery is a surgical procedure. And, as with any surgery, bleeding and infection at the surgical site are potential risks.

Are there related procedures to a SLAP Repair?

Injuries such as bursal inflammation, rotator cuff tears, and other damage may be detected during the same procedure and treated.

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Dr. William Lackey is the founder of Breakthrough Orthopedics, a New York based medical practice that specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques and joint preservation procedures. Learn More »

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