Will a labral tear heal without treatment?

There are no good natural history studies on labral injuries. There are acute (sudden) labral tear injuries that are likely to heal without surgery. In chronic (longstanding) cases, however, there are no successful non-operative treatments.

What are the causes of a SLAP tear?

The causes of SLAP tears are a subject of debate among orthopaedic surgeons. There are several injury patterns that can lead to a tear. The most common causes are thought to be:
  • a fall on the outstretched hand that drives the humerus upward and causes the superior labrum to tear.
  • a sudden and often unexpected load applied to the biceps, which can cause a tear.
  • extremes of external rotation and abduction (movement away from the body) during throwing that causes the labrum to "peel back" from its attachment.
Why would my surgeon perform a tenodesis rather than a repair?

The decision to perform a tenodesis is based upon the location of the tear, the amount of biceps involved, and the quality of the remaining tendon. The more degenerative the tissue, the more likely it is that a tenodesis will be a successful treatment. The patient's age is a secondary concern, but is a factor (along with the other variables) that should be considered when assessing the likelihood of success of a primary repair versus the results obtainable with a tenodesis.

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