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Home / Research » Surgical management of type II superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) lesions: a review of outcomes and prognostic indicators

Surgical management of type II superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) lesions: a review of outcomes and prognostic indicators


A Type II SLAP (superior labrum anterior posterior) lesion is a tear of the superior glenoid labrum with involvement of the long head of the biceps tendon insertion. In patients that do not improve with conservative treatment, there is a great deal of variability in the surgical management of these injuries that includes arthroscopic SLAP repair, arthroscopic SLAP repair with biceps tenodesis, biceps tenodesis alone and biceps tenotomy. Each surgical technique has specific effects on a patient’s postoperative course and functional recovery. Rehabilitation strategies may be best formulated on an individual basis with an open line of communication between the operating surgeon and the physical therapist. Despite an increased incidence in treatment, there is currently no consensus on the optimal surgical procedure or treatment algorithm for Type II SLAP injuries. However, in middle-aged or older patients (>35) with Type II SLAP tears, either arthroscopic suprapectoral or mini-open subpectoral biceps tenodesis is recommended due to the higher failure rates observed with arthroscopic SLAP repair in this patient group. Although more patients present with a ‘Popeye’ sign after biceps tenotomy, long-term functional outcome is similar between biceps tenodesis compared to tenotomy. However, more patients will experience biceps fatigue or cramping after the tenotomy procedure. Biceps tenodesis is preferred in younger, more active patients, while tenotomy is preferred in the middle-aged or older and lower demand patients. The aim of this paper is to provide a brief description of the different surgical techniques employed to address Type II SLAP lesions (arthroscopic repair, biceps tenodesis, and biceps tenotomy) and provide a review of available literature regarding outcomes and prognostic factors associated with each technique.

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