Shoulder Labral Repair in New Orleans, LA

Shoulder Labral Repair in New Orleans, LASimilar to rotator cuff tears and other shoulder injuries, labral tears cause pain, inflammation, and limit a patient’s range of motion. Labral tears can significantly diminish the patient’s quality of life and make everyday activities difficult. Conservative treatments can successful help the bulk of patients with shoulder injuries; however, some cases may require surgical intervention. Continue reading to learn more about labral tears and available treatment options, or schedule an appointment at Dr. Junius’ Metairie offices for a proper diagnosis.

The shoulder is a complex joint made up of three bones: the clavicle, or collarbone, the scapula, or shoulder blade, and the humerus, or upper arm bone. These bones comprise major two joints in the shoulder: the glenohumeral joint, a ball-and-socket joint formed by the upper arm bone and a cavity on the scapula, known as the glenoid fossa. This joint is commonly referred to as the “shoulder joint”, despite the presence of a second joint in the shoulder: the acromioclavicular joint.

The Glenohumeral Joint

The glenohumeral joint is relatively unstable due to the fit of the humeral head within the glenoid fossa. The humeral head rests on the glenoid fossa, similar to a golf ball on a tee. A piece of cartilage, known as the labrum, lines the rim of the glenoid and provides more depth to the cavity. The labrum creates a deeper cup for the ball of the humeral head and stabilizes the shoulder through its wide range of motion.

The shoulder also features tendons and ligaments that help move the arm inside the joint. The labrum, beyond stabilizing the shoulder, also serves to connect muscles to bone. By acting as the origin of the bicep tendons, the labrum facilitates movement by allowing muscles to activate bones by pulling on tendons. An additional set of ligaments, known as the joint capsule, connects to the scapula and covers the head of the humerus.

Labral Tears

As patients age, the shoulder's components experience natural “wear-and-tear”, causing pain, discomfort, immobility, and a limited range of motion. Trauma to the shoulder, as well as repetitive motions, can cause debilitating injuries and remove patients from the activities they love.

The labrum is prone to damage, and when injured, can increase the likelihood of future injuries. Labral tears of the shoulder cause pain with overhead injuries, along with a number of other symptoms:

  • Pain during overhead motions
  • “Popping” or grinding sensation
  • Occasional pain at night, or during daily upper body activities
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Loss of strength

Learn more about Dr. Junius, orthopedic sports medicine expert »

Diagnosing a Labral Tear

Patients with a shoulder injury should consult a shoulder or upper extremity specialist, such as Dr. Junius, for a proper diagnosis. Because of the complexity of the shoulder, it may be difficult for patients to discern the root of pain.

Upon examination, Dr. Junius will perform several physical tests to assess range of motion, joint stability, and the degree of pain. If the pain began after a traumatic injury, the surgeon will ask about the event for a better understanding of the shoulder injury.

Because the labrum is a soft tissue, shoulder surgeons are not able to identify damage or injury through an x-ray. Instead, your surgeon may order a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) or a computed tomograpy (CT) scan.

Learn more about arthroscopic shoulder surgery for labral tears, rotator cuff tears, and more »

Treating a Torn Labrum

Patients with labral tears have a number of treatment options available. Nonsurgical treatment is always preferred, as it allows the body to heal the structure without any incisions that might cause post-operative pain or discomfort. Because the labrum lacks an adequate blood source, nonsurgical treatments may not be suitable for healing a labral tear. In these cases, patients may benefit from a minimally invasive surgical solution.

Conservative Treatments for Labral Tears

Patients may wish to attempt conservative treatments to manage the pain and reduce inflammation. Many patients can benefit from these treatment options, which can include the following:

  • Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation – strengthening the supporting muscles and tendons
  • NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) regimen – minimizing pain by reducing inflammation
  • Activity modification – avoiding activities that irritate the damaged labrum
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) – reducing inflammation and allowing the labrum to heal on its own

These treatments are effective for a large percentage of patients; however, not all cases of labrum injuries can be successfully treated using these means. In more severe cases, shoulder arthroscopy is a solution that is minimally invasive and allows patients to return to their previous activities relatively quickly.

Shoulder Arthroscopy for Labral Tears

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure often utilized for sports injuries, as its small incisions allow athletes to heal more quickly when compared to open surgery. Arthrosopic surgery touts a number of benefits over conventional surgery, including, but not limited to:

  • Less post-operative pain
  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Shorter post-operative recovery pain
  • Performed on an out-patient basis, allowing patients to return home the day of surgery

Orthopedic Sports Medicine Expert in New Orleans, LA

Dr. R. William Junius, III is a shoulder arthroscopy expert, and has years of experience treating patients with upper extremity disorders, including tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, and labral tears. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty training in sports medicine, Dr. Junius serves the Greater New Orleans area from his offices in Metairie, treating all patients, from athletes to the elderly, with compassion and care. To learn more about Dr. Junius or shoulder pain treatment, schedule an appointment to speak with him today.