The labrum is a ring of soft fibrous tissue that surrounds the glenoid (the end of the shoulder blade) and helps stabilize the shoulder joint. Ligaments and tendons can attach to the labrum and when the labrum is torn, the shoulder becomes painful. A torn piece of labrum in the shoulder will cause much pain.
The indications for surgery are persistent pain and instability interfering with your activities of daily living, work and/or sports. While surgery is recommended, Dr. Gartsman does not believe this condition will worsen, although sometimes the frequency of painful episodes will increase.
The Surgery Experience
This surgery is performed using an arthroscope to repair the torn labrum in your shoulder. General anesthesia is used, as well as a type of novocaine that lasts four to 24 hours, which is injected around the nerve that goes to the shoulder to help decrease pain after the surgery.
Dr. Gartsman will need to make three small (1/4”) incisions to insert small, permanent metal bone screws inside the bone. Attached to the bone screw are sutures that are woven through the torn labrum.
You will awaken in the recovery room after your surgery with your arm in a sling that also is attached to an ice pack (Cryo Cuff) to help control pain and swelling.
How successful is the surgery?
This type of surgery is successful about 85-95% of the time. No shoulder operation is 100% successful in every individual but the procedures we perform are reliable and will help restore the potential function in your shoulder. Because of the many variables involved, I can make no guarantees other than to assure you I will deliver the very best medical care possible.
Your first office visit is three weeks after surgery so that Dr. Gartsman can examine the surgical incision. He will give you additional instructions for exercises and discuss your allowed activity level. Six weeks after surgery, more vigorous use of the shoulder will be allowed. Office visits then occur three, six and 12 months after your surgery.
Returning to Work
For most sedentary jobs, Dr. Gartsman recommends taking a week off from work. When you return to work your arm will be in a sling (six weeks after surgery) but you should be able to manage as long as you do no lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying.
Most patients can start light duty work involving no lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying more than one to two pounds, 6-8 weeks after surgery. Work at waist level and 5-10 pounds of lifting is started 3-4 months after surgery. You will generally need 3-6 months of recovery before beginning occasional work at the shoulder level, but a return to heavy lifting or overhead use may require 6-12 months.
You may enjoy walking, Stairmaster and stationary bicycle riding within one to
two weeks after surgery. Jogging, and regular bicycle riding can start two to three months after surgery, as can gentle golf strokes. Swimming, running, and tennis ground strokes start four to six months after surgery.
A return to overhead throwing, tennis strokes and contact sports require at least six months of rehabilitation, and a full return to competitive overhead sports requires 12 months. YOur return to weight lifting is unpredictable. You may need one full year before performing activities such as the bench press and you may never recover enough to lift heavy weights.
The most common complication from labrum repair involves injury to nerves around the shoulder. These usually go away in two days to six weeks. This occurs in less than 1%
Permanent injury that results in diminished use, function or feeling in the extremity can occur but is exceedingly rare. Infection can occur (less than 1% of patients), and may require antibiotic treatment with pills or by injection. Rarely, surgery is necessary.
It is extremely rare for the bone screws to cause problems, but the possibility does exist and further surgery may be required. Joint problems, including stiffness or arthritis, also could occur after surgery. Failure to achieve the desired result is not strictly a complication but it can be a source of disappointment. Additionally, this operation may result in incomplete motion, strength or function.
Click here to download Preoperative Patient Care Information - Labrum Repair from Dr. Gartsman.