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Shoulder Joint Surgery: SLAP Repair

Front view of shoulder joint showing SLAP lesion

Front view of shoulder joint showing tears at top and bottom of labrum. Anchors are being placed to repair tears.

A SLAP lesion is a shoulder injury. It happens when there is a tear in the labrum. This is the fibrous cartilage that helps hold the shoulder joint in place. Surgery can repair this injury. This surgery may be done through a few small incisions, called arthroscopic surgery. Or, it may be done through one larger incision, known as open surgery. You and your healthcare provider will discuss which method is right for you.

Preparing for surgery

Do's and don'ts: 

  • Tell your healthcare provider what prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. This includes herbs and supplements, aspirin and ibuprofen. Ask whether you should stop taking any of these before surgery.

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

  • Bring any X-rays, forms, or scans your healthcare provider needs with you to the hospital.

  • Arrange for an adult family member or friend to give you a ride home after the procedure.

During surgery

During surgery, your surgeon will closely examine your shoulder. One or more repairs may be done:

  • The labrum may be reattached to the glenoid using surgical anchors or sutures.

  • Other damage to the shoulder may be repaired. This includes tightening the capsule (sheet of tough fibers that surrounds the glenoid and humerus).

Possible risks and complications of shoulder surgery

Here are some of the possible risks and complications: 

  • Infection

  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels

  • Stiffness and/or pain

  • Recurrence of shoulder problem

  • Failure of sutures or implants to fix the labrum

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Last Review Date: 10/12/2015
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