The shoulder joint includes a socket and where the head from the upper arm is running. Around the socket, is a labrum, and this labrum is a structure in between cartilage and ligaments. The labrum acts as a kind of seal, which makes the socket a little wider and is like a package that provides stability to the joint head. On the labrum inserts the long head of the biceps tendon. A pull or twist of the arm, can result in that the biceps pulls the labrum from the socket and this is called a SLAP tear or a labrum tear. See Figures 1 and 2. The typical symptoms are pain and clicking deep in the shoulder, or simply diffuse pain around the whole shoulder. If you have been diagnosed with a SLAP lesion, an shoulder arthroscopy could be needed. The diagnosis can be very difficult to make as the injury frequently can be difficult to diagnose on MRI scans - even MRA (arthrography), but only determined by keyhole surgery.
Purpose of the operation
SLAP lesions may be operated in 3 different ways.
Figure 1 - SLAP fixation
Figure 2 - Biceps tenodesis
Advantages and disadvantages of the three different methods: