Predictive factors associated with failure of nonoperative treatment of superior labrum anterior-posterior tears

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2016 Mar;25(3):428-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.09.008. Epub 2015 Dec 6.


Background: Uncertainty remains in the natural course of superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP) tears treated conservatively with rehabilitation and activity modification. Our purpose was to evaluate clinical outcomes after nonoperative treatment of type II SLAP tear in young active patients and to identify factors related to negative outcomes.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 63 patients who initially underwent nonoperative treatment for isolated type II SLAP tear. Assessments were made at baseline and at 6 months, and telephone survey was used to evaluate the final outcome. All included patients underwent a consistent nonoperative treatment protocol, and patient-specific data on the outcome were assessed. Failure was defined as abandonment of nonoperative management for surgery at any time points, <20-point improvement in American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score at final follow-up, or inability to return to activities.

Results: At the average follow-up of 21 months, pain relief and function improved significantly (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score, 54.2-86.4; Visual Analog Scale score, 4.6-1.7; P < .05) in 45 patients (71.4%) with successful nonoperative treatment. Eighteen patients (28.5%) were either dissatisfied with treatment or had arthroscopic surgery and were considered a failure group. Multivariate analysis showed that failure of nonoperative treatment is strongly linked with history of trauma, positive compression-rotation test result, and participation in overhead activities (P < .05).

Conclusions: An initial trial of nonoperative management may be considered in young active patients with isolated SLAP tear. Patients with history of trauma, mechanical symptoms, and demand for overhead activities are less likely to succeed.

Keywords: Shoulder; nonoperative treatment; overhead activity; physical test; predictive factors; superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP) tear.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture / complications
  • Rupture / rehabilitation
  • Rupture / surgery
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Shoulder Pain / surgery
  • Treatment Failure