Do All Shoulder Labrum Tears Require Surgery?


Quick Answer

When the shoulder remains stable and can gain strength through rehabilitation exercises, shoulder labrum surgery is not always necessary. If those do not work, the surgeon is likely to try arthroscopic surgery, as stated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Full Answer

The initial treatment for a shoulder labrum tear is often conservative, and the physician may begin by prescribing medicines to fight inflammation and recommend rest for the symptoms, while starting rehabilitation exercises. If symptoms do not improve, then surgery is the next step. Arthroscopic surgery provides a view on the biceps tendon and the rim of the shoulder. Injuries that do not affect the biceps tendon leave the shoulder stable. In that instance, the surgeon simply takes out the ripped pieces and corrects other issues that he sees, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

When the tear goes into the biceps tendon or that tendon is now detached, the shoulder lacks stability. Using sutures, wires or absorbable tacks, the surgeon now has to fix and reattach that tendon. Tears going below the middle of the shoulder socket also affect the stability of the shoulder. The surgeon reattaches the ligament and tightens the shoulder socket by "pleating" the tissues, or folding them over to hold things in place.

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