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Labrum Surgery

at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital

For over 50 years, Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital has been providing superior healthcare and treatment to every patient who requested the services of our knowledgeable and experienced medical professionals. By virtue of state-of-the-art technology, our talented orthopedic surgeons can perform a wide range of procedures to repair a labrum injury, including minimally invasive surgery.

If you choose our hospital to undergo labrum surgery, you should not worry about the safety of the procedure, as your general health will be carefully assessed prior to entering the operating room so as to make sure your risk of complications is minimal. After the surgery, you will be closely monitored by our medical team in a calm and compassionate environment.

Labrum reconstruction surgery concerns the shoulder. The shoulder is made of a ball and a socket joint, and the ball at the top of the upper arm bone fits perfectly into the socket. Labrum refers to the ring of fibrous cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder. It has the role of stabilizing the shoulder joint. Traumatic injury is what commonly causes a labrum tear, as well as excessive weightlifting or throwing. There are three types of labrum injuries, namely superior-labrum anterior-posterior, Bankart tear, and posterior labrum tear.

The main purpose of labrum surgery is to reverse the damage inflicted on the cartilage. Some of the most usual symptoms that indicate a torn labrum are shoulder pain and instability, as well as a feeling of grinding, locking, or catching when moving the shoulder. While some people's labrum tear will heal by itself, without medical intervention, others will need surgery if their injury is severe. Therefore, if your symptoms fail to improve with non-invasive treatment such as physical therapy, you most likely have to undergo labrum surgery.

People whose labrum is damaged will generally undergo arthroscopic surgery. If the surgeon determines that only the labrum is injured, they will remove the torn flap of cartilage. However, if the tendon is also damaged, the surgeon will use absorbable wires or sutures to repair and reattach it. A Bankart lesion is repaired by reattaching the labrum and the capsule to the anterior margin of the shoulder socket.

Labrum tears that are located near the biceps tendon attachment may only require trimming or may need to be reattached to the upper part of the shoulder socket. The most effective approach for this is arthroscopic surgery, as the region is difficult to reach by making a large incision. By using the arthroscope and small incisions for other instruments, the surgeon can reattach the labrum to the rim of the socket with sutures or tacks.

There are numerous benefits of undergoing labrum surgery, the most noteworthy being the following:

  • the disappearance of pain in your shoulder
  • regaining full range of motion in your shoulder
  • restoring the strength of your shoulder
  • being able to use your arm normally, without restrictions
  • renewed stability in your shoulder
  • being able to perform overhead motions, such as when playing sports
  • no more shoulder weakness
  • increased sports performance

Recovery

The length of the recovery period will highly depend on the surgical approach used to treat your injured labrum. Accordingly, patients who had minimally invasive surgery, also known as arthroscopic repair, will recover faster than people who underwent traditional, open surgery for their torn labrum. In general, athletes will have to wait between 6 months and one year before resuming their activity, whereas overhead throwing athletes will need to wait even longer. The majority of athletes who undergo labrum surgery are able to return to over 80% of their pre-injury level of physical activity.

For the first 4 weeks following the surgery, you will have to wear a sling in order to protect the shoulder while it is healing. In the meantime, you can manage your pain, swelling, and discomfort with rest, ice, and painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend you take off your sling several times a day and perform gentle motion exercises so as to prevent your shoulder from tightening up. Most people who underwent labrum surgery will have to do physical therapy for a relatively long time, starting as soon as they are out of the hospital. The rehabilitation is done in several phases, each focusing on a certain aspect of recovery.

Risks

Although labrum surgery is generally safe and not extremely complex to perform, some patients may experience the following after the procedure:

  • shoulder instability
  • progressive loss of articular shoulder cartilage
  • shoulder stiffness
  • nerve injury
  • shoulder weakness
  • infection
  • failure of surgery

Nevertheless, if you are carefully evaluated before undergoing labrum surgery and if your orthopedic surgeon knows every aspect of your injury, your chances of having to deal with any of the above problems are extremely low.

Complications

Like any other surgical procedure, labrum surgery, whether it is performed by using a minimally invasive approach or traditionally, implies a risk of postoperative complications, the most common being the following:

  • recurrent shoulder instability
  • incomplete repair of your labrum
  • postoperative failure
  • instrument breakage during surgery
  • joint stiffness
  • damage to joint structures

Deciding to have your labrum surgery at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is the best choice you can make, as our orthopedic surgeons have performed thousands of procedures of this kind and are ready to treat your injury as well.