A specific type of labral tear is called a SLAP tear; this stands for Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior. The SLAP tear occurs at the point where the tendon of the biceps muscle inserts on the labrum.
Common cause for a SLAP tear include:
- Fall onto an outstretched hand
- Repetitive overhead actions (throwing)
- Lifting a heavy object
The area of the labrum where the SLAP tear occurs is susceptible to injury because it is an area of relatively poor vascularity. Other parts of the labrum often heal more easily because the blood supply delivers a healing capacity to the area of the tear.
Diagnosis of a SLAP tear can be difficult, as these injuries may not show up well on MRI scans. SLAP tears tend to be seen best on MRI when the study is performed with an injection of contrast. The diagnosis of a SLAP tear is confirmed at the time of surgery.
- A SLAP repair is performed arthroscopically using sutures to reattach the torn biceps anchor back to the bone.