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Shoulder Labral Repair

What is a Shoulder Labral Repair?

Shoulder labral repair is a surgical procedure that is used to treat injuries to the labrum, a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint’s socket. The procedure involves reattaching the damaged labrum to the bone using sutures and other devices to restore its strength and stability. It is usually performed arthroscopically, which is a minimally invasive technique that involves using small incisions and a camera to visualize the joint.

Shoulder labral repair can be either an outpatient procedure or an inpatient procedure, depending on the specific case and the surgeon’s preference.

In some cases, the surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, which means that the patient can go home on the same day as the procedure. However, this depends on several factors, such as the size of the tear, the patient’s overall health, and the type of anesthesia used.

In other cases, the surgery may require an overnight hospital stay. This is more likely if the patient has other medical conditions or if the surgery is more complex. The surgeon will decide on the best approach based on each individual patient’s needs.

A shoulder labral repair may be indicated for various shoulder injuries, such as:

  1. SLAP Tear – SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior to posterior, and this type of tear occurs in the top part of the labrum where the biceps tendon attaches.
  2. Bankart Lesion – A Bankart lesion occurs when a piece of the labrum tears off the front of the socket due to shoulder dislocation.
  3. Torn Labrum – A torn labrum can occur due to injury, wear and tear, or repetitive overhead activities.
  4. Shoulder Instability – When the shoulder joint becomes unstable, it can cause pain and a feeling of the shoulder ‘popping out’ of place. A labral repair can help to restore stability to the joint.


A shoulder labral repair is usually performed under general anesthesia, and the surgeon makes small incisions around the shoulder joint. An arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions, which allows the surgeon to visualize the joint on a monitor screen. Tiny instruments are inserted in one of the other small incisions to clean up the soft tissues and prepare the bone. Then the labrum is reattached to the bone using sutures and anchors. The anchors are small devices that are inserted into the bone to hold the sutures in place. The number of anchors used depends on the size and location of the tear.

After the procedure, the patient will be monitored by medical staff to ensure that there are no complications, and they will receive instructions for postoperative care and rehabilitation.

In the first few weeks after surgery, patients usually wear a sling to support the arm and limit movement during healing. At this time, the focus is on pain management and controlling inflammation. Physical therapy exercises may be recommended to help maintain range of motion in the shoulder joint.

After a few weeks, the sling is usually removed, and patients may begin gentle range-of-motion exercises. Patients will begin a rehabilitation program where the intensity of the exercises will increase. The goal is to regain strength in the shoulder muscles.

In general, it can take up to 6 months to fully recover from a shoulder labral repair. However, the recovery time can be longer for athletes or individuals who have physically demanding jobs. It’s important for patients to follow the surgeon’s postoperative instructions and rehabilitation plan carefully to ensure the best possible outcome. It’s important to consult with your doctor to understand the specifics of your recovery and what to expect.

A shoulder labral repair is a common surgical procedure that is used to treat injuries to the labrum, which can cause pain, instability, and reduced mobility in the shoulder joint. With proper rehabilitation, patients can expect to regain strength and function in their shoulder and return to their daily activities.

Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating shoulder injuries. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level. Dr. Lall is a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who cares for all patients like family. Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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