Labral Tears

Labral Tears

The labrum is cartilage rim around the socket part of the ball and socket joint. Its purpose is to make the socket deeper and to keep the ball from slipping out of the socket.

This makes it very important to the stability of the ball and socket joint.

If the labrum is torn – usually due to trauma – the shoulder can become unstable.

It can tear in different places. When this happens at the front of the shoulder, it’s called a Bankart lesion (see Shoulder Dislocations). When the tear occurs at the top of the shoulder, it’s called a SLAP Lesion and at the back, a posterior Bankart lesion (see Shoulder Dislocations).

Labral Tears

When the shoulder has dislocated to the front or to the back, a small piece of bone from the socket part may break off. This can cause even more instability and is called a bony Bankart lesion (see Shoulder Dislocations).

bony Bankart lesion

Treatment depends on the age of the patient and their activity level.

In young people who play contact sports like rugby, professional sports people or surfers, an arthroscopic (keyhole surgery) repair has been found not to be that successful and an open stabilisation procedure called the Latarjet procedure is the operation of choice.

The younger a patient is, the higher the chance of a redislocation.

When older patients dislocate their shoulder, one must always be careful not to miss a Rotator Cuff Tear.