What are SLAP Tears?
The term SLAP (superior–labrum anterior-posterior) lesion or SLAP tear refers to an injury of the superior labrum of the shoulder.
What are the Causes of SLAP Tears?
The most common causes include falling on an outstretched arm and repetitive overhead actions such as throwing and lifting a heavy object. Overhead and contact sports may increase your risk of developing SLAP tears.
What are the Symptoms of SLAP Tears?
The most common symptom is pain at the top of the shoulder joint. In addition, a catching sensation and pain, most often with activities such as throwing, may also occur.
How are SLAP Tears Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made based on the symptoms and a physical examination. A regular MRI scan may not indicate a SLAP tear; therefore, an MRI with a contrast dye injected into the shoulder is usually ordered. The contrast dye helps to highlight SLAP tears.
What are the Treatment Options for SLAP Tears?
- Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to control pain. Shoulder arthroscopic surgery may be recommended for athletes who want to continue their sports.
- Depending on the severity of the lesion, SLAP tears may require debridement, or some may need to be repaired. A SLAP repair can be performed using arthroscopic techniques that require only two or three small incisions.
- Regular exercises that make the shoulder muscles strong should be done. Adequate warm-up exercises before activities and avoiding high-contact sports can help prevent injuries that cause instability.