The labrum is a soft ring of cartilage tissue which surrounds the shoulder socket. The shoulder labrum is an anchor for the ligaments that hook the bones together. A labral tear may occur due to injury or overuse. A labral tear may also occur when the shoulder dislocates (comes out of the socket). Patients with a labral tear may present with pain and catching in the shoulder. A test known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be helpful in diagnosing a labral tear. Labral tear surgery is indicated in patients with persistent symptoms who fail a course of exercise and other conservative measures. The labral tear surgery is performed using an instrument called an arthroscope.
This thin tube is inserted into the shoulder through small incisions made through the skin and is connected to a television camera. Instruments are inserted and used to remove or repair the labral tear. A particular type of labral tear is called a SLAP lesion and is a common cause of shoulder problems in overhead athletes. The success rate after labral tear surgery is high. The AANA website lists arthroscopic surgeons who are experienced in these procedures. The Web site also has additional information regarding labral tear surgery.