Surgical Information - Procedures
Labral Repair of the Shoulder
What is labral repair of the shoulder?
Labral repair of the shoulder is surgery to repair an injury to the labrum, the cuff of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint and helps provide stability to the shoulder.
The vast majority of shoulder labral repairs are performed arthroscopically. In this minimally invasive approach, the surgeon makes several small incisions around the shoulder joint and inserts a narrow fiber optic scope (called an arthroscope) to examine the condition of the labrum. Tiny instruments are used to remove the frayed edges, if the tear is small, or repair and reattach the tendon, if the tear is more severe. Repair is usually done with small anchors attached to the bone and sutures to secure the torn labrum.
Arthroscopic repair of labral injuries allows surgeons a full view of the shoulder without having to cut through muscles or open the shoulder joint. Patients therefore experience less pain, minimal blood loss, fewer complications and a faster recovery. The result is a more balanced anatomic repair that helps restore full function and anatomy.
What is the recovery time?
Total rehabilitation time depends on the extent and severity of your injury and the strength of the repair. It usually begins with four to six weeks of shoulder immobilization in a sling, followed by six to 12 weeks of physical therapy to restore range of motion, flexibility and strength. Athletes can usually begin doing sport-specific exercises and training 12 weeks post surgery. Unrestricted return to contact sports usually requires five to six months of rehabilitation.