Newer SLAP tear surgery gives military personnel hope for return to active duty

March 23, 2013

Research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in Chicago, IL shows that biceps tenodesis surgery is safe and effective for individuals who suffer a SLAP (superior labral anterior posterior) tear of the shoulder. Patients examined had previously undergone unsuccessful arthroscopic repair for their injuries.

"Our research focused on a sample of 42 active-duty men and women who were unable to return to duty after primary arthroscopic SLAP repair," said Frank McCormick, MD, and CDR Matthew T. Provencher, MD, MC, USN, lead authors of the study, from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. "After performing the more traditional biceps tenodesis surgery, (81%) of patients returned to pre-injury level of activity and were able to return to active duty."

None of the patients in the study reported a failure after their secondary, revision and all reported significant improvement in their shoulder range of motion, from a mean of 142 degrees of abduction to 165 degrees at final follow-up. The patients had initially demonstrated an inability to lift, perform push-ups and do overhead activities after their failed primary surgeries.

"While our research focused on , we believe acknowledging their return to full activity serves as a suitable comparison to a traditional, active population," noted Provencher. "This provides important information about handling a failed SLAP repair and provides an example of new treatment courses for others in the future."

Biceps tenodesis treatment involves relocating the biceps tendon to alleviate pain and dysfunction as well as prevent tears from forming in the shoulder tissue.

Explore further: Army studies: High recurrence of shoulder instability, better arthroscopic repair outcomes

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