5 Types of Shoulder Tears and Fractures for Surgical Repair
Dr. Brian Cohen is one of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons, treating more than 100,000 patients worldwide and mentoring over 100 orthopedic surgeons on enhanced surgical techniques. He uses advanced technology to ensure the best outcomes for his patients. Shoulder injuries are a common complaint, and many require surgical repair to restore full mobility and function.
1. Clavicle (Collarbone) Fracture
The collarbone is an s-shaped bone between your shoulder blade and rib cage. An auto accident, sports injury or other traumatic event can lead to one or more slight breaks (fractures) in the clavicle bone. Many people experience a broken collarbone after falling onto an outstretched arm. The treatment depends on where the fragments are located, your health and your lifestyle. Non-surgical treatment for a clavicle fracture involves:
- Physical therapy
- Using a sling to immobilize the shoulder
- Pain medicines or anti-inflammatories
- RICE (rest, ice compress and elevate)
Surgery may be required to treat a clavicle fracture by inserting pins or a plate and screws to keep all bone fragments in their original positions.
2. Shoulder Fracture
A shoulder fracture is a severe orthopedic injury that involves three bones: the collarbone, upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). These injuries may happen from a fall or a direct hit, such as a motor vehicle accident or contact sport. Decreased bone strength in people with osteoporosis can increase your risk of a shoulder fracture. Specialized treatment and care can improve healing for shoulder injuries, but some people may need surgery to restore full function.
3. Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear is a common orthopedic trauma that affects the muscles and tendons of the shoulder responsible for mobility and stability. These tears are often caused by repetitive motions over your head, such as tennis, baseball and swimming, or an acute injury caused by lifting a heavy object, a fall or an auto accident. People over 40 are most at risk for rotator cuff tears because of natural aging and degeneration. A sling or brace along with RICE, physical therapy and pain management can improve symptoms, but rotator cuff repair surgery may sometimes be required.
4. SLAP Tear
SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior and posterior, and an injury in this area of the shoulder is called a SLAP tear. This ring of cartilage surrounds your shoulder socket and stabilizes the head of your upper arm bone. These tears may happen from repetitive motions, including volleyball, tennis, swimming and baseball. Trauma from falling or an accident and degeneration from natural aging can injure the shoulder labrum. Non-surgical treatment may be possible through anti-inflammatory medications, rest and physical therapy, but unresponsive SLAP tears may need surgical repair.
5. Labral Tear Repair
A labrum or labral tear is another form of shoulder injury. The soft, fibrous tissue is where many shoulder ligaments attach, and it keeps the shoulder joint stabilized. The bicep tendon attaches to the labrum also, making any trauma or injury to this area potentially serious. Arthroscopic surgical repair is a standard solution for labrum tears that don’t respond to conservative management. This minimally invasive procedure involves small incisions and uses tiny surgical tools to trim or repair the labrum. Rest, anti-inflammatory treatment and physical therapy should be tried first.
Contact Cohen Orthopedic About Your Shoulder Injury
If you’ve experienced one of these types of shoulder injuries, schedule a consultation today.