Rethinking Surgical Repair of SLAP Lesions?

    Are orthopaedic surgeons overtreating SLAP tears? The answer may be yes.

    Diagnosing SLAP lesions is difficult: The physical exam and radiographic image findings are unreliable, and even the arthroscopic evaluation can be inconclusive – all of which likely contribute to the increasing number of SLAP repairs.

    A study by Weber et al showed that surgical repair of SLAP lesions accounted for nearly 10% of shoulder cases for candidates in the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) part II database. [1] That’s 3 times the incidence of SLAP lesions reported in the literature.

    SLAP lesions are a real clinical issue, but they are more rare than current practice suggests. Inappropriate surgical repair can have devastating consequences: The Weber study reported a complication rate of 4.4%. [1]

    At ICJR’s annual Shoulder Course in Las Vegas, we asked prominent sports medicine specialist Brian Cole, MD, from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, to comment on treatment of SLAP lesions in his practice.

    Click the image above to hear his thoughts on this topic.


    Weber SC et al. Superior labrum anterior and posterior lesions of the shoulder: incidence rates, complications, and outcomes as reported by American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Part II candidates. 2012 Jul;40(7):1538-43. doi: 10.1177/0363546512447785. Epub 2012 May 24.

    Producer: Susan Doan-Johnson; Director and Post Production: Charles Maynard