What is SLAP repair?

SLAP repair, also known as SLAP tear surgery, aims to repair injured shoulder cartilage. The labrum protects and cushions the upper portion of the upper arm bone (humerus). Furthermore, the protective cushioning enables the upper part of the long arm bone to remain in the shoulder socket. The labrum also serves as a connection between the socket of the shoulder blade and the biceps tendon.

SLAP tear surgery is primarily done to repair a rupture in the labrum. As a result, surgery is performed to treat shoulder instability and relieve shoulder pain.

How does Dr van Niekerk perform SLAP repair?

A SLAP repair can be done openly or minimally invasively, depending on how badly damaged the cartilage is. For example, Dr van Niekerk can insert the arthroscope and several other tiny surgical tools to fix the torn labrum by making smaller incisions over the shoulder. Should he decide to repair the labrum, Dr van Niekerk will use a shaver and rasp to prepare the torn portion to reconnect to the shoulder socket. Afterwards, he creates a hole in the shoulder socket using a drill to place a suture through the opening. Finally, the labrum is stitched to the suture, which serves as an anchor, pulling the labrum toward the shoulder socket, so it rests flat against the surface.

What is recovery like?

An arm sling or alternative mobilising device must remain in place for several weeks after the procedure. As a result, you will require assistance when driving because this will be hard to do when your arm is in a sling. Dr van Niekerk will suggest applying ice and taking prescribed painkillers to relieve discomfort after the surgery. Additionally, physical therapy is strongly advised to strengthen the shoulder, improve mobility and reduce shoulder stiffness. The physical therapist Dr van Niekerk refers you to will provide light exercises for you to engage in daily as your shoulder heals.


Why do you need SLAP tear surgery?

Dr van Niekerk performs SLAP tear surgery to treat debilitating shoulder pain and immobility when conservative treatment measures fail to relieve pain.

When do I have to remove my stitches?

Within two weeks after surgery, during a follow-up appointment, Dr van Niekerk will remove your stitches.

Do I need to attend regular follow-up appointments?

You should attend follow-up appointments every 4-6 weeks.