Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Specialist

New Orleans Orthopedic Institute

Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeons & Sports Medicine located in Slidell, LA & Metairie, LA

If you play sports or work a job that requires repetitive arm or shoulder movements, you’re also susceptible to labral tears. Left untreated, a labral tear can lead to other more serious problems, negatively affecting your mobility and quality of life. At New Orleans Shoulder Institute, in Metairie, Hammond, and Slidell, Louisiana, orthopedic shoulder surgeon, Bian Kindl, MD, and the team, specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of labral tears. If you suspect you’ve suffered a labral tear, make an appointment today by calling the office nearest you or by using the online booking tool.

Labral Tear Q & A

What is the shoulder labrum?

Your shoulder labrum is a piece of soft cartilage that sits inside the joint of your shoulder bone. It’s responsible for cupping and supporting the ball-shaped joint at the top of your upper arm. 

A group of four muscles, known as the rotator cuff, work in coordination with your shoulder labrum, holding your shoulder joint in place. If you have a healthy, functioning shoulder labrum, you can lift your arm, throw, and lift. However, repetitive motions and general wear-and-tear can damage your labrum, causing pain, swelling, and discomfort. 

Are there different types of shoulder labral tears?

At New Orleans Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Kindl and the team diagnose and treat several different types of labral tears, including:

SLAP tears

If your labral damage occurs above the middle of the glenoid, it’s called a SLAP tear. SLAP  stands for “superior labrum, anterior to posterior,” a simple way of saying front to back. SLAP labral tears are particularly common in athletes who use overhead arm motions, including baseball pitchers and tennis players. 

Bankart tears

If your labral tear occurs on the lower half of your glenoid socket, it’s called a Bankart tear. This type of labral damage can affect anyone, but it’s especially common in children and adolescents who suffer a dislocated shoulder. 

Posterior labral tears

Posterior labral tears are the rarest type of labral tear. They usually occur as a result of impact or injury to your upper back or the back of your shoulder. Posterior labral tears account for approximately 10-15% of all shoulder injuries.

What are the symptoms of a labral tear?

The most common symptom of a labral tear is shoulder pain. Other telltale signs include:

  • Catching
  • Locking
  • Grinding
  • Popping

As the condition progresses, you might also experience a sensation of instability or weakness in your shoulder. 

How are labral tears diagnosed?

To diagnose a labral tear, Dr. Kindl does a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks you about your symptoms. To see if there’s damage to your labrum, he might also order an MRI or CT scan.  If these measures don’t provide adequate insights, Dr. Kindl might recommend arthroscopy to further examine your labrum and shoulder joint. 

How are labral tears treated?

Whenever possible, Dr. Kindl uses conservative measures of care to ease pain caused by labral tears. For example, you might benefit from rest, ice, and elevation, or physical therapy. If these treatments don’t provide relief, surgery may be necessary. Dr. Kindl performs labral tear surgery as a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery. During surgery, Dr. Kindl carefully removes the damaged portion of your labrum.  

If shoulder pain is negatively affecting your quality of life, make an appointment at New Orleans Orthopedic Institute today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.

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