There are many reasons why this is one of the most frequent questions that I field from e-mails through my website, or with patients whom I am interacting with the my office. Virtually every patient is nervous about surgery. That’s normal. Perhaps the issue that you are worried about, and perhaps quite accurately, you worry whether or not the labrum is the source of your pain — and the surgery you are about to undergo is necessary.  You also worry about the time off it needs to heal, and if you will be able to return to your prior level of activity.  As I’ve mentioned before, if you are an overhead athlete and have pain during throwing and  found to have a labral tear, and do not respond to physical therapy – – – there is a good chance that the surgery is indicated, however, recent scientific literature has shown that you may not return to your prior level of pitching ability. If you have have fallen and  your shoulder is dislocated, and your shoulder continues to dislocate, then your surgery is well indicated.  

If you are 50 years old have difficulty raising your arm, have pain at night, have pain when you trying to work out in the gym, or work out in the yard, it is almost certain that the labral tear found on your MRI is not the source of your pain.

Again, your history, your physical exam, and your MRI, must all correlate to create a clinical “story” or a situation where the surgeon is nearly certain that the labral tears the source of your pain. We can never be 100% sure… but we should be almost certain :-) 

 More information on Shoulder Labral Tears 

My Video discussion on Labral Tears


Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.