What is the labrum ?

The labrum is a tiny ring of fibrous tissue that encircles the shoulder socket. The shoulder joint is inherently a very unstable joint. The labrum helps to make the socket a little bit deeper and as a result, improve stability of the shoulder.

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How do I tear my labrum ?

A shoulder dislocation is the most common way to tear the labrum.  This occurs as the ball of the arm slides out of the socket.  This takes a traumatic injury, such as during a football play, for this to occur.  While the shoulder is often reduced on the sidelines, an ER visit may be needed. When this tissue tears away from the socket, it allows the shoulder to slip out of the joint easier the next time.  When the shoulder dislocates, for example, at night when sleeping, it would not be surprising to find a labral tear.

Do I need surgery ?

Surgery for a labral tear is done to reattach the tissue where it belongs and reestablish the normal bumper, preventing further instability and allowing you to return to normal activities. There is no requirement to have surgery for this, however, if these episodes of instability continue, surgical treatment is most often the best choice.
Surgery is done arthroscopically through very small incisions. This outpatient procedure takes about an hour. Patients go home the same day and begin an appropriate rehabilitation program right away. This program is specifically tailored to your individual injury and treatment needs.
If you have questions about labral tears, or have a labral tear, please feel free to contact me at Ask Dr. Hacker or through my office.

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