Stabilisation and Labral/SLAP Repair

Stabilisation and Labral/SLAP Repair

Shoulder reconstruction or stabilisation, can be required if your shoulder is unstable and the ball of your shoulder joint (humeral head) needs to be prevented from coming out of its socket (glenoid).

The surgery can become necessary after a traumatic event such as a dislocation, or as the consequence of repetitive throwing. This usually results in a tear of the glenoid labrum or cartilage rim of the socket. Tears can affect the anterior (Bankart tear), superior (SLAP) and posterior parts of the labrum.

The labrum is a specialised cartilage that deepens the socket and helps to prevent your shoulder from coming out. When the ball gets close to the edge, the labrum can act like a bumper bar and provide a barrier to dislocation.

Often a labral repair or soft tissue procedure alone will stabilise your shoulder but sometimes a bone transfer procedure (Latarjet procedure) may be necessary. Mr Chua will assess your shoulder and discuss with you to identify the most appropriate procedure to fix your shoulder.

Labral Repair

If you have a tear in your labrum, it may need to be surgically repaired to stabilise the shoulder, relieve pain and restore function.

Dr Chua performs this procedure arthroscopically (keyhole surgery), which causes less trauma to the tissues than open surgery and may allow earlier recovery of function. Labral repair is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and with a nerve block, to reduce postoperative pain and make the procedure more comfortable.

Small incisions about a centimetre long will be made around your shoulder to allow a small camera known as an arthroscope to be inserted. The arthroscope will capture images which will be displayed on a video screen.

Guided by video images, your surgeon will use miniature surgical instruments to carefully inspect your traumatised shoulder joint. The labral tear is identified, and repaired back to your bone using special anchors with strong sutures attached. Depending on the nature of your injury, nearby tissue as well as anchors may also be used.

If you have a SLAP or superior labral tear, then you may also require treatment of the biceps tendon as this inserts into, or is connected to, the superior labrum.

After Surgery

You will be moved to the recovery room after surgery and your arm will be in a sling, which will need to stay in place for around 4 to 6 weeks.

Most patients leave hospital the day after surgery and a physiotherapist will visit you before you leave so that a rehabilitation program can commence.

Mr Chua will see you again in the first few weeks after your surgery, before progressing to the next stage of your recovery with a local physiotherapist.

Other Procedures

Not sure where to start? Give us a call us on (03) 9928 6188.