Trends Related to the Treatment of Superior Labral Tears at a Single Institution

Document Type : RESEARCH PAPER


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Background: As preferred treatment options for superior labral tears continue to evolve, this study aims to describe
the recent longitudinal trends in the treatment of SLAP tears in a sub-specialized practice at a single institution. We
hypothesized that there was a trend toward biceps tenodesis over repair for Type II SLAP lesions.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed using an institutional billing database to identify all patients with a
SLAP tear who underwent surgical intervention between January 2002 and January 2016. Procedural codes associated
with the surgery were analyzed to determine type of treatment each patient received.
Results: Of the 6,055 patients who underwent surgery for a SLAP tear during the study period, 39.1% (2,370)
underwent labral repair, 15.4% (930) underwent tenodesis without repair, and 45.5% (2,755) underwent arthroscopy
without tenodesis or repair. Labral repair made up a significantly higher proportion of surgical interventions in 2002
(82.2%) compared to in 2015 (21.8%; p <0.001). Surgeon experience did not impact trends. Over the study period,
the mean age of patients receiving labral repair decreased from 40.4 years (range: 16.2 – 63.9) to 32.6 years (range:
14.0 – 64.7; p <0.001).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that over the 14-year study period the rate of labral repairs for SLAP tears has
decreased significantly and that these repairs have been directed towards a younger patient population.
Level of evidence: III


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