Labrum Tear

Drew Stein, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist located in Midtown West, New York, NY

A labrum tear is a painful injury deep within your shoulder in the cartilage lining your shoulder socket. Practicing in the Midtown West area of New York City, Drew Stein, MD, PLLC, is an experienced orthopedic surgeon and sports injury specialist who provides effective treatments for labrum tears including physical therapies, regenerative medicine, and advanced surgical techniques. Call today if you have shoulder pain or book an appointment using the online tool.

Labrum Tear Q & A

What is a labrum tear?

The labrum is a special type of fibrous, rigid cartilage in the socket of your shoulder joint that helps to keep the head of your upper arm bone (humerus) in place within the socket. The labrum also serves as an attachment point for shoulder ligaments.

A labrum tear usually occurs at the same time as either a shoulder dislocation or subluxation (partial dislocation). Labrum tears can heal themselves, but are prone to healing in the wrong location, resulting in joint instability.

There are many types of labral tears depending on where they occur around the shoulder. They are superior (SLAP tears), anterior (Bankart tears), or posterior. All of these tears can cause pain, weakness, and/or instability. 

How is a labrum tear diagnosed?

The labrum is deep within the shoulder joint, which makes it harder to assess, but Dr. Stein has expertise in diagnosing these kinds of injuries. After doing a physical exam, he may order an MRI scan.

The problem with diagnosing labrum tears is that they may not always show up even when using sophisticated imaging techniques. In some cases, diagnosis is only possible using arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which Dr. Stein inserts a miniature camera into your shoulder on the end of a flexible tube called an arthroscope. Using this technique, he can get a clear view of the labrum and make a positive diagnosis.

What treatments are available for labrum tears?

Treatment for labrum tears depends on the type of tear. If the tear is severe or causing shoulder instability, surgical repair is the best option. Labrum repair surgery is possible using arthroscopic techniques, or in certain cases, open surgery may be preferable.

SLAP lesions may only need trimming or may require reattachment, which is best achieved using arthroscopic surgery. Other types of labral tears, including Bankart tears and posterior labral tears, also may only need trimming or may require reattachment depending on findings during arthroscopy.

Following surgery, you embark on a carefully designed program of physical therapy designed to optimize healing and restore full function to your shoulder.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or instability in the joint, don’t wait for it to get better on its own, as it may well just get worse instead. Call Drew Stein, MD, PLLC, or book an appointment online here on the website.

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