SLAP Tear and Repair2016-10-12T12:39:59-04:00

SLAP Tear and Repair


SLAP stands for the “superior labrum, anterior to posterior,” which means “the top of the labrum from the front to the back.” This term indicates the part of the labrum that is torn or injured. With a SLAP injury, the top (superior) part of the labrum is injured. This top area is the attachment point for where the biceps tendon connects to the labrum. A SLAP tear occurs both in front (anterior) and back (posterior) of this attachment point. The biceps tendon can be involved in the injury, as well.

Symptoms of a SLAP Tear

The general symptoms of a SLAP tear are similar to other shoulder problems or injuries. Symptoms include:

  • Locking, popping, catching or grinding sensation.
  • Discomfort or pain with movement of the shoulder or with holding the shoulder in specific positions.
  • Pain while lifting objects, specifically overhead.
  • Decreasing shoulder strength.
  • Instability in the shoulder joint; feeling like it will “pop out.”
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Difficulty throwing.

Treatment for SLAP Tear

The non-surgical treatment for a SLAP tear involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, rest, ice and a physical therapy regime that will restore function and relieve pain in the shoulder joint. MRI can help with the suspected diagnosis of a SLAP tear.

Depending on the type of SLAP tear, there are many surgical techniques that can be used to reconstruct and stabilize the shoulder. Your surgeon will help you decide on the most appropriate technique for your needs during your evaluation. Your surgeon will also make decisions based on your activity level, age and other injuries that may be present. After the SLAP tear is surgically repaired, a period of rest and rehabilitation will commence to restore strength, function and range of motion.

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