SLAP is an acronym for “superior labral tear from anterior to posterior”.
A SLAP tear is a torn piece of cartilage in the inner part of the shoulder joint. It can be painful and/or limit movement in the shoulder. The shoulder labrum is a ring of cartilage around the shoulder socket that stabilizes the head of the upper arm bone. A SLAP tear or lesion occurs when there is damage to the top of the labrum, or where the biceps tendon connects to the labrum.
A SLAP tear or lesion occurs when there is damage to the superior (uppermost) area of the labrum. These lesions have come into public awareness because of their frequency in athletes involved in overhead and throwing activities in turn relating to relatively recent description of labral injuries in throwing athletes.
The primary surgical options for the SLAP tear are:
Debridement of the SLAP tear
When a SLAP tear is debrided, the torn portion of the labrum is shaved away to leave a smooth edge.
A SLAP repair is an arthroscopic procedure that uses sutures to reattach the torn labrum down to the shoulder socket. During the surgical procedure, your surgeon will use a surgical implant to reattach the damaged labral tissue to the bone of the shoulder socket. The most commonly used device is called a suture anchor. The anchor is seated into the bone, and the sutures are wrapped around the labrum and tied snugly to the bone.
A biceps tenodesis is a procedure that cuts the biceps tendon from where it attaches to the labrum and reinserts it in another area. A biceps tenodesis can either be performed arthroscopically, or through a small incision over the top of the shoulder.