Is Surgery for Shoulder Labrum Tears the Answer? - Valley Sports Medicine

Is Surgery for Shoulder Labrum Tears the Answer?

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Have you ever wondered if surgery is the answer to your shoulder pain? According to a study published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, orthopedic surgery to repair Type II “SLAP” tears of the labrum was no more effective than a faked surgical treatment, or sham treatment.

The study looked at 118 patients who were surgical candidates based on MRI, patient history, and clinical symptoms. Subjects were randomly assigned either to surgical repair of the labrum, or a surgical release and reattachment of the biceps tendon (known as a tenodesis), or sham surgery. The subjects were then evaluated at 6 and 24 months.
At the end of the study, there were NO significant differences among the 3 groups in ANY of the outcome measurements.

The Labrum is the rubbery tissue on the rim of the shoulder socket that helps keep the ball of the joint in place. It is called a labral tear when the cartilage is torn. Labral repair is the most common procedure to treat labral tears of the shoulder. However, there are high rates of complications and often poor results.  The release of the biceps tendon (tenodesis or tenotomy) is increasingly used as an alternative to SLAP repairs in select patients, but the evidence for it is weak.  This current study reinforces the idea that surgical treatment of labral tears certainly does not guarantee a successful outcome.

An alternative to surgery for the treatment of labral tears is Regenerative Medicine treatments. Injections of PRP, platelet-rich plasma, and stem cells can be very effective in treating these injuries. Here at Valley Sports Physicians, we’ve been performing both PRP and stem cell treatments longer than most practices in the country.  We’d be happy to see you for your labral tear!

Source: Schroder CP, et al. Sham surgery versus labral repair or biceps tenodesis for type II SLAP lesions of the shoulder: a three-armed randomized clinical trial. Brit J Sports Med. 2017;51:1759-1766.)

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