Objective: To describe the distribution and clinical presentation of labral injuries in rugby players and the time taken for them to return to sports.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Busy shoulder practice in the North West of England, treating a large number of professional athletes.
Patients: A review of 51 shoulder arthroscopies performed on professional rugby players over a 35 month period. All patients diagnosed with a SLAP lesion at arthroscopy were identified. Eighteen patients had a documented SLAP tear; this group represented our study population.
Interventions: Arthroscopic debridement and/or stabilization was carried out for all labral injuries using Panaloc anchors and No. 2 PDS via a 2 portal technique.
Main outcome measurements: Classification of injury, Satisfaction, Time to return to play.
Results: The incidence of SLAP tears in our study population was 35%. There were 11 isolated SLAP tears (61%), 3 SLAP tears associated with a Bankart lesion (17%), 2 SLAP tears associated with a posterior labral lesion (11%), and 2 SLAP tears associated with an anterior and posterior labral injuries (11%). Of the 18 SLAP tears, 14 (78%) were type 2, 3 (17%) were type 3, and 1 (5%) was type 4. None of the patients with a SLAP tear presented with symptoms of instability. MR Arthrogram had a 76% sensitivity for detecting SLAP tears. By 6 months postsurgery, 89% of patients were satisfied. Patients with isolated SLAP tears were the quickest to return to sports, at an average of 2.6 months postsurgery.
Conclusions: SLAP tears are a common injury in rugby players. These can often be diagnosed with MR arthrography. Arthroscopic repair is associated with excellent results and early return to sports.