SLAP Repair

Shoulder SLAP Repair
This is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic and nerve block. It involves repairing the torn labrum arthroscopically (keyhole). The surgeon will discuss your individual surgery with you before the operation.

The operation involves reattachment of the torn labrum (see picture below). This usually done using sutures and small bone anchors.

Click on image below to see an animation video of a SLAP repair:


SLAP Lesion                               SLAP repaired

Click for Interactive Animations.
Also see Education Section  & Patient Experiences  for more detail

Information for your Surgery

You must not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery. When you wake up following the procedure you will be wearing a sling with a body belt (see picture). The sling should be worn for 3 weeks. For more details on Living with a Shoulder Sling CLICK HERE

You will probably not be in hospital overnight after your operation, and should be able to go home about 4 hours after the surgery. A physiotherapist will see you in hospital to teach you the appropriate exercises. You will need physiotherapy after the surgery and should return to your own therapist. If you don't have one a local therapist can be found here.


A nerve block is usually used during the surgery. This means that immediately after the operation the shoulder and arm often feel completely numb. This may last for a few hours. After this the shoulder may well be sore and you will be given painkillers. These can be continued after you are discharged home. Ice packs or a cold compression wrap may also help reduce pain. Wrap crushed ice or frozen peas in a damp, cold cloth and place on the shoulder for up to 15 minutes. Ensuring you cover the wound site with a piece of cling film to keep the area dry. For more information click here


This keyhole operation is usually done through two or three 5mm puncture wounds. There will be no stitches only small sticking plaster strips over the wounds. These should be kept dry until healed. This usually takes 5 to 7 days. You may shower with waterproof plasters in the meantime. You may need to get these from a pharmacy if the hospital cannot provide them. 


For the first three weeks your sling must be worn in bed. Sleeping can be uncomfortable if you try and lie on the operated arm. We recommend that you lie on your back or on the opposite side, as you prefer. Ordinary pillows can be used to give you comfort and support. If you are lying on your side one pillow slightly folded under your neck gives enough support for most people. A pillow folded in half supports the arm in front and a pillow tucked along your back helps to prevent you rolling onto the operated shoulder during the night. If you are lying on your back, tie a pillow tightly in the middle (a "butterfly pillow") or use a folded pillow to support your neck. Place a folded pillow under the elbow of the operated arm to support that.



An appointment will be made for you to see the surgeon or specialist therapist 3 weeks post-operatively. 


For the first three weeks all activities of daily living for example feeding, dressing, cooking etc must be carried out using your un-operated arm. If appropriate an occupational therapist will be available to give you advice on how to do this. For more information Click Here.


Your physiotherapist and surgeon will advise you when it is safe to resume your leisure activities. This will vary according to your sport and level, as well as the period required to retrain your shoulder muscles with physiotherapy.

 Below is a rough guide: 

3 weeks
6 weeks
Golf 6 weeks
Contact SportIncludes horse riding, rugby, football, martial arts, racquet sports, and rock climbing6-12 weeks


You will not be able to drive for a minimum of 4 weeks. Your surgeon will confirm when you may begin.


This will depend upon the size of your tear and your occupation. You will need to discuss this with your surgeon.

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