Background: There are conflicting reports in the literature regarding the outcome of superior labral anterior posterior (SLAP) repairs in overhead athletes and a paucity of data demonstrating ability to return to prior level of competition.
Hypothesis: Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic shoulder and elbow score provides more accurate assessment of shoulder function and ability to return to previous level of athletic competition after SLAP lesion repair than does the conventional American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scoring system.
Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: Twenty-three elite (collegiate or professional) overhead athletes who were more than 1-year status postarthroscopic repair of type II SLAP lesions were evaluated using both the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic shoulder and elbow score and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score. P values were computed using the analysis of variance model. Postoperative American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic scores from subjects were compared with control values obtained from a healthy athletic cohort; the relationship between the scores was investigated using the linear regression model and assessed using Pearson correlations.
Results: At a mean 38-month follow-up, 13 athletes were playing pain free at the time of the questionnaire administration, 6 were playing with pain, and 4 were not playing because of pain. Regarding American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores, 22 athletes (96%) had good-excellent scores, whereas 1 (4%) had a fair score. The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic scores revealed 9 excellent (39%), 3 good (13%), 4 fair (17%), and 7 poor (30%) results for the same study group. Of the 23 patients, 13 (57%) had returned to their pain-free preinjury levels of competition at final follow-up. The inability to return to this level of competition correlated with the presence of a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear (P = .0059). The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic demonstrated better overall accuracy (85%) than did the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (70%) in evaluating return to pain-free preinjury levels.
Conclusion: Return to preinjury level of competition for elite overhead athletes after type II SLAP lesion repairs was 57%, despite high American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores. Return to play status correlated with the presence of a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear. The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic score, designed specifically for the evaluation of the overhead athlete, was a more accurate assessment tool than was the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons in this population of elite overhead athletes with SLAP tears.