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The American Journal of Sports Medicine
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 37  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 1358 - 1362

Arthroscopic Treatment of Concomitant Superior Labral Anterior Posterior (SLAP) Lesions and Rotator Cuff Tears in Patients Over the Age of 45 Years

A. E Abbot, X Li and B. D. Busconi    

Abstract: Background:

Rotator cuff tears commonly occur in combination with other shoulder injuries such as superior labral anterior posterior (SLAP) lesions. The incidence of these associated lesions increases with age; however, the management of concomitant SLAP and rotator cuff tears has yet to be convincingly addressed in the literature.


Patients over the age of 45 years who have concomitant arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and debridement of their type II SLAP lesions will have improved patient satisfaction and functional outcome compared with those who undergo simultaneous rotator cuff and type II SLAP repair.

Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.


We recruited 48 patients (mean age, 51.9 years; range, 45–60 years) who had concomitant rotator cuff and type II SLAP tears. All underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with subacromial decompression. Patients were randomized intraoperatively into 2 groups: repair versus debridement of their type II SLAP lesions. Ten patients were lost at final follow-up (4 in debridement and 6 in repair group). The outcome was assessed by the Tegner score and University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) score and clinically to evaluate range of motion (forward elevation/internal rotation/external rotation).


At 2 years postoperatively, both the debridement and repair groups showed significant improvement in Tegner score, UCLA score, and range of motion. Patients who underwent rotator cuff repair in combination with debridement of their SLAP tears had significantly better overall UCLA scores (34 vs 31; P < .001) and improved function (5.5 vs 3.8; P < .005) and pain relief (9.6 vs 7.7; P < .001) compared with those who underwent simultaneous rotator cuff and SLAP repair. Range of motion in both internal and external rotation was also significantly better in those patients who had SLAP debridement as compared to SLAP repair.


In patients over the age of 45 years with a minimally retracted rotator cuff tear and associated SLAP lesion, arthroscopic repair of the rotator cuff with combined debridement of the type II SLAP lesion may provide greater patient satisfaction and functional outcome in terms of pain relief and motion.

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