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Superior Labral Tear

What is a Superior Labral Tear?

The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the body and it can easily become injured.

The cup of the shoulder (glenoid) is surrounded by a soft tissue called labrum. The tendon of the biceps (front arm muscle) is attached on this soft tissue at the top of the shoulder cup.

A Superior Labral Tear is when this attachment tears or sustains injury, and can be a constant source of pain from the shoulder joint.


Superior Labral Tears are a common injury following gym or sports activities.

These injuries do not easily heal themselves and can be a source of constant pain from the shoulder joint.

In order to diagnose a Superior Labral Tear, your specialist will conduct a physical examination and likely request an imaging scan such as an x-ray or MRI.

Surgery is not always required to treat a Superior Labral Tear. Other treatments may be recommended to help strengthen the shoulder, such as painkillers, injections, exercise and/or physiotherapy.

Ultimately, an operation may be essential to help repair the structural faults caused by the injury.

Arthroscopic Shoulder SLAP Lesion/ Labral Repair Surgery

During an Arthroscopic Shoulder Labral Repair, the surgeon will place small anchors into the socket of the shoulder and suture (sew) the torn tissue back to the bone. By restoring the anatomy of your shoulder, you should be able to do more with it without fear of pain or further injuries.

Following surgery you will be reviewed regularly by your surgeon and you will follow a rehabilitation program for 6 to 12 weeks. Your arm will be resting in a shoulder sling for two to six weeks, which is essential to minimise any movement and protect the repair work that has been done. Moving your shoulder inappropriately during this healing phase will reduce the potential benefits of the surgery.

Depending on the nature of your employment, you may be signed off from working for two to six weeks.

Download our Patient Information Leaflet below:

Arthroscopic Shoulder SLAP labral repair leaflet

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