Agreement in the Classification and Treatment of the Superior Labrum

Authors: Brian R. Wolf, Carla L. Britton, David A. Vasconcellos, Edwin E. Spencer, and for the MOON Shoulder Group

References: Am J Sports Med 2011;39 2588-2594

The Snyder classification scheme is the most commonly used system for classifying superior labral injuries. Although this scheme is intended to be used for arthroscopic visual classification only, it is thought that other nonarthroscopic historical variables also influence the classification.

This study was conducted to evaluate the intrasurgeon and intersurgeon agreement in classifying variable presentations of the superior labrum and to evaluate the influence of clinical variables on the classification and treatment choices of surgeons.

Study Design: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 3.

 A group of arthroscopic shoulder surgeons were asked to rank in order of importance clinical variables considered in diagnosing and treating the superior labrum. The surgeons then watched 50 arthroscopic videos of the superior labrum, ranging from normal to pathologic, on 3 different occasions. The first and third viewings were accompanied by no clinical information. The second viewing was accompanied by a detailed clinical vignette for each video. The surgeons selected a classification and treatment for each video.

A patient’s job/sport, age, and physical examination findings were considered the most important clinical variables surgeons consider during management of the superior labrum. Comparing the 2 viewings without clinical information, surgeons selected a different classification 28.5% of the time from the first to the second time. A different classification was chosen 71.5% of the time when the surgeon was supplied a clinical vignette at the subsequent viewing. Similarly, the treatment selected changed in 36% and 69.1% of cases when viewed again without vignettes and with vignettes, respectively. Intersurgeon agreement was moderate without clinical vignettes and fair with vignettes. Historical, physical examination, and surgical observations were found to influence the odds of change of classification.

There is significant intrasurgeon and intersurgeon variability in classification and treatment of the superior labrum. Clinical historical, examination, and surgical findings influence classification and treatment choices.


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