SLAP lesions: a retrospective multicenter study

Arthroscopy. Nov-Dec 1998;14(8):856-62. doi: 10.1016/s0749-8063(98)70028-3.


A retrospective analysis of 530 glenohumeral arthroscopies performed by three independent Belgian arthroscopists revealed the presence of 32 SLAP lesions, which represents an incidence of 6%. Since this is exactly the same percentage as found by Snyder et al., we report our data in this article. We classified 23 of the SLAP lesions using Snyder's classification, 7 needed the additional classification of Maffet et al., and 2 lesions were considered to be anatomic variations; 53% of the lesions were of type II. Concerning the mechanism of injury, we found comparable percentages of traction (22%) and compression (28%) injury as reported by Snyder, but also a high number (25%) of overhead sports activities as described by Andrews et al. Associated lesions were in close accordance with Snyder's data, but a relatively low incidence of rotator cuff injuries (10%) was present. Comparison of treatment regimens showed that the same percentage of lesions (34%) was fixed arthroscopically in both series. Only SLAP II, IV, and V lesions must be considered as unstable and in need of fixation. We confirm that patients' complaints and clinical symptoms are vague and inconsistent. Imaging, using computed tomographic arthrography or magnetic resonance, was performed in a minority of cases. Advantages and pitfalls of both techniques are discussed. Anatomic variations causing an extra-large sublabral hole are shown, and we warn about potential diagnostic and therapeutic errors in these cases.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Rupture
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Tendon Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Tendons / physiopathology