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The Superior Labrum(SLAP)/ Biceps Complex is an important set of structures within the shoulder. The labrum is a static stabilizer and the biceps a dynamic stabilizer of the ball and socket joint. These structures can be damaged with repetitive microtrauma (i.e. throwing), traction type injuries, or other trauma. Arthroscopic SLAP/biceps complex surgery aims to reduce pain and restore function after injury.
The goal of surgery is to restore the properties of the damaged SLAP/biceps complex to reduce pain and improve shoulder range of motion, strength, and function. Arthroscopic and/or mini-open surgical techniques are utilized to treat painful dysfunction following injury.
Patients with painful dysfunction and/or weakness attributed to the SLAP/Biceps complex may be candidates for surgery. In general, conservative measures including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections are attempted before surgery is indicated.
Common signs/symptoms of SLAP/Biceps complex pathology include pain in the front of the shoulder, pain or weakness with repetitive maneuvers, and/or difficulty with overhead activities including throwing.
Depending on patient age, activity level, and specific type of SLAP/biceps injury, arthroscopic and/or mini-open surgery might be performed. Arthroscopic intervention may include SLAP repair. Mini-open surgery removes the biceps from its painful groove and transfer the tendon to a new location(i.e. biceps tenodesis). These procedures take approximately one hour to perform. Patients have an initial period of protection in a sling that can vary from 2-6 weeks. Post-operative rehabilitation is performed 2-3X/week for several months. Return to work/sport is INDIVIDUALIZED and is based on minimum time from surgery (4-6 months) and, more importantly, functional progression with rehabilitation.
Biceps Tendon Tear (at the Shoulder)
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