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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec




SLAP Tears: Treatment Algorithm.


Fortier LM, Menendez ME, Kerzner B, Verma N, Verma NN
Arthroscopy. 2022 Dec; 38(12):3103-3105.
PMID: 36462776.


SLAP lesions can be significant pain generators in the shoulder. These injuries are the most common shoulder injury in overhead athletes, as repetitive overhead motion is the most common etiology of SLAP lesions. These lesions present a diagnostic and treatment challenge to patients and physicians. Factors to consider when discussing treatment options for SLAP lesions include age, type of sports activity, level of sports participation, and degree of symptoms. Nonoperative management is the first-line treatment for most young, active patients without history of trauma, mechanical symptoms, and/or demand for overhead activities. These conservative measures include rest, avoidance of aggravating factors, injections, and physical therapy focusing on correcting scapular dyskinesis, restoring range of motion and strength, and evaluating the biomechanical throwing motion. It has been reported that 40% of professional baseball players can successfully return to play after rehabilitation alone. Alternatively, operative treatment is reserved for failure of nonoperative treatment and those with persistent symptoms that prevent individuals from participating in sports activities or activities of daily living. The two most common operative treatment options include arthroscopic repair versus biceps tenodesis. Arthroscopic repair can be considered in younger athletes (<30 years old) and elite athletes who are involved in overhead sports (baseball, tennis, volleyball) and consists of repairing the labral anchor back to the superior glenoid rim with knotless anchor repair techniques. Alternatively, biceps tenodesis is the first-line treatment option for failed SLAP repairs, and as an index procedure, traditionally has been reserved for middle-aged individuals (>30 years old), patients receiving workers' compensation, nonoverhead athletes, or in those with concomitant rotator cuff tears. However, due to a relatively high failure rate of SLAP repairs, biceps tenodesis as an index procedure is gaining more popularity, as emerging evidence suggests encouraging functional outcomes and return-to-sport rates even in younger athletes.