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SLAP Repair


SLAP Repair Surgeon

Repeated use of the shoulder while throwing or a fall onto the shoulder can result in a SLAP (superior labrum anterior and posterior) tear or injury. SLAP repair surgeon Dr. Kelechi Okoroha provides diagnosis and individualized nonoperative and operative treatment plans in Detroit. He also provides highly specialized care during and after surgery. Contact Dr. Okoroha’s team for an appointment today!

Shoulder Anatomy

Your shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint made up of the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade, and the collarbone. The head of the upper arm bone fits into the socket of the shoulder joint known as the glenoid cavity. The outer edge of the glenoid is surrounded by a strong fibrous tissue called the labrum.

What is a SLAP Tear?

A superior labrum anterior and posterior tear or SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum. This injury may also involve the biceps tendon, which is attached to the top part of the labrum. The injury occurs from repeated use of the shoulder while throwing or a fall onto the shoulder.

What is a SLAP Repair?

A SLAP tear can be treated through an arthroscopic surgical procedure called a SLAP repair.

Dr. Okoroha has extensive training in the SLAP repair procedure and provides this service for patients in Detroit, Royal Oak, Sterling Heights, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Michigan and beyond.

What are the Indications for a SLAP repair?

Dr. Okoroha recommends SLAP repair to treat the torn labrum of the shoulder socket when conservative treatment measures such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) and physical therapy do not relieve the symptoms of a SLAP tear.

How is a SLAP Repair performed?

A SLAP repair is a minimally invasive surgery that uses an arthroscope, a tube with a light and camera on the end that projects images onto a monitor for Dr. Okoroha to view inside your joint. The type of SLAP repair depends on the type of tear involved and will be determined once Dr. Okoroha views the joint. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and a nerve block.

  • Dr. Okoroha first makes small incisions to insert the arthroscope and thin surgical instruments into the shoulder joint.
  • Dr. Okoroha will then identify the type of SLAP tear and remove the damaged tissue of the labrum.
  • A small hole is then drilled into the bone of the shoulder socket close to the labral tear.
  • Dr. Okoroha will place an anchor into the drilled hole with a strong suture.
  • Additional anchors can be placed as required for securing the torn labrum to the bone of the shoulder socket.
  • Finally, the torn labrum is tied to the bone with the sutures.

What are the Steps Recommended for Postoperative Care following SLAP Repair?

After the procedure, your arm will be placed in a sling for the first 3 weeks to immobilize the shoulder joint and you will be advised to restrict active motion of your shoulder for about 6 weeks. You will be instructed to take your pain medications and apply ice packs to control swelling and pain. The plaster strips over the wounds should be kept dry until the wounds heal. Through physical therapy, you can slowly regain motion and strengthen the shoulder. You can resume sports activities after consulting with your physical therapist and surgeon. You should avoid driving for a few weeks after the surgery.

What are the Advantages of SLAP Repair?

A SLAP repair involves the reattaching of the labrum to its normal anatomical position; thereby, restoring the anatomy of the shoulder. The procedure also allows the normal functioning of the previously damaged labrum and biceps attachment.

What are the Associated Risks and Complications of SLAP Repair?

As with any surgical procedure, SLAP repair may involve certain potential risks and complications including:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels

If you would like additional information on shoulder treatments or to learn more about SLAP repair, please contact the office of Dr. Okoroha, shoulder surgeon serving the communities of Detroit, Royal Oak, Sterling Heights, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Michigan, and beyond.