Shoulder Labral Repair


What is a shoulder labrum tear?

The labrum is a circular rim of cartilage in the shoulder that plays a significant role in shoulder stability. Shoulder labral tears are quite common and can occur from acute traumatic injuries, such as a fall or shoulder dislocation, or from repetitive shoulder motions like those used in sports activities or work. The two most common types of labral injuries in the shoulder include SLAP tears and Bankart tears. If conservative measures fail to relieve your symptoms, Dr. Potts may recommend arthroscopic shoulder surgery in order to repair the torn labrum and fix the problems associated with shoulder instability.


What is an arthroscopic labral repair?

Dr. Potts performs labral repairs utilizing minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy to help patients return to activities quicker and with less pain. The procedure is completed on an outpatient basis under regional and general anesthesia. In most cases, arthroscopic labral repairs take around an hour to complete.

During the procedure, a series of poke-hole incisions are made around the shoulder that are used to insert a small camera (called an arthroscope) and surgical instruments to perform the repair. Dr. Potts then looks inside the joint to identify the labral tear and any other damage that may be present inside your shoulder. He then cleans up any rough edges of the labrum and prepares the bone of the socket (glenoid). The torn labrum is reattached to the bone with the use special implants called suture anchors that are made of bioabsorbable material. Each anchor has suture that is used to wrap around the labrum and bring it back to its original attachment site. Multiple suture anchors are used to hold the labrum in place and to tighten the injured shoulder joint. The sutures function by securing the labrum in while it heals directly to the bone of the glenoid. The purpose of a labral repair is to restore shoulder function and stability.